The Pittsburgh Pirates face the Chicago Cubs Saturday at Wrigley Field.
Pirates fans have been wondering since Spring Training when they will see Tyler Glasnow debut. Despite struggling in his most recent start, the team’s top pitching prospect has looked stellar through much of his seven starts at AAA Indianapolis. The Pirates may have to call up Glasnow sooner than they originally planned.
It has been an up and down season so far for the rotation. In 2015, the Pirates finished 6th in the league in quality starts with 92, a 57% rate. Through the first 34 games of 2016, the Bucs sit in the middle of the pack in quality starts with the percentage dipping to 50%. The starters’ ERA has also ballooned from last season. Of pitchers who started at least 10 games for the Pirates in 2015, their combined ERA was 3.39. Excluding the spot start of Ryan Vogelsong, the rotations ERA this season is a whopping 4.68.
Prior to giving up 3 runs in a no decision at Syracuse Thursday, Glasnow’s ERA was a remarkable 1.64. He struggled with this control in the start, only striking out 1 batter while walking 5 and throwing only 50 of 98 pitches for strikes.
Before last night, he was one of four pitchers in the AAA rotation with an ERA under two, which includes Jameson Taillon whose ERA sits at 1.69. Though Taillon may need some more seasoning at AAA after returning from Tommy John surgery, Glasnow seems ready to take on major league competition even with his most recent rough start.
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In his past 4 outings, he has recorded two 11 strikeouts games while walking only 1 batter in each of those games. Glasnow may have some growing pains on the senior circuit like most rookies do, but the Pirates are in despite need of a shot in the arm in their rotation.
Francisco Liriano was roughed up for 8 runs in 4.2 innings against the Cubs while Jon Niese and Juan Nicasio struggled in both their starts this week. Jeff Locke has looked decent at times until he gets to his third time through the lineup, then it’s all downhill. Gerrit Cole hasn’t been terrible, but you expect more out of a guy who is destined for a big pay day.
The chances you see Glasnow before June 1st with the Pirates are pretty slim unless someone goes down with injury. They have always been sticklers when it comes to bringing up prospects. But at the rate this season is going with the Cubs gaining more and more ground on the Pirates, management has to do something to keep the team in the race for the NL Central.
If the Pirates still have any thought about taking this division and making a run at a World Series in 2016, Glasnow needs to be called up now before it is too late.