I got my first live look of Glasnow during his May 27th start at Pawtucket. The first thing to stand out with Glasnow is the 6-foot-8, 225-pound frame. Also, the fact that he’s just 22 years old, and pitching at the top of the Pirates’ rotation for the Indianapolis Indians. He’s filled out with long limbs, yet displays athleticism with his delivery and a clean arm action. The fastball comfortably sat at 93-to-95 mph (T96) mph through six innings. The fastball was pretty straight, but it gets on hitters quick, not only because of the velocity, but also because of his extension and long release out front.
The command/control profile was fringe-average, and the fastball didn’t miss many bats. The curveball was a legitimate weapon at 78-to-80 mph with tight, consistent, 12-to-6 downer action, coming in at the same plane as the fastball and dropping off the table. Just as impressive was his ability to consistently control and bury the curveball down and out of the zone when needed. Glasnow picked up 10 swings-and-misses (13 total) with his curveball alone this outing. The changeup was a well below-average offering at 88-to-91 mph; it was used sparingly, flat and essentially a BP fastball. Another point of concern was Glasnow’s slow release times to the plate from the stretch, ranging 1.43-1.64 seconds before finally utilizing a slide step in the later innings and getting down to the 1.26-1.27 range.
Based on this one look, I don’t see Glasnow as a future top of the rotation guy given his lack of a third pitch, fringy command and control profile, and his hittable fastball. A middle to back-end of the rotation projection seems more likely, or worst case scenario of a move to the bullpen. Assuming he can maintain the level of control and consistency he showed this outing, the curveball was good enough to make me think that he may even be able to get away with the below-average changeup. Given Glasnow’s age, body, clean delivery, and Pittsburgh’s recent history with developing pitchers, I’ll take the gamble on him staying in the rotation, and improving the changeup enough to allow him to stick as a consistent #3 mid-rotation starter. However, a future move to the bullpen would not be the most shocking development down the road. Here’s some video of Glasnow from April 10, courtesy of 2080’s Burke Granger