By Jason Shetler
It’s no secret that the Pirates will look to improve their rotation heading into the 2017 season. Already in place will be Gerrit Cole, who’s looking to bounce back, along with Jameson Taillon and Chad Kuhl, both of which performed well as rookies in 2016. The Pirates plan on bringing in a veteran starter, and the question becomes whether that’ll be Ivan Nova or someone else. But there seems to be an even bigger question – That question being if Tyler Glasnow will be in the rotation come Opening Day.
Over the past couple years, Glasnow has not only been the top prospect in the Pirates organization, but has been one of the best pitching prospects in all of the minors. He began 2016 with AAA Indianapolis, and dominated International League batters, posting an ERA of 1.87 with a .175 batting average against and a 10.8 K/9 in 20 starts. Glasnow received his call up to the Pirates on July 7th. In total, he pitched seven games with the Bucs, four of which were starts, where he posted a 4.24 ERA and had a K/9 of 9.3. The one knock on Glasnow however is his control, and it definitely showed, as he allowed 13 walks in 23.1 innings of work.
Last week during the Winter Meetings, all eyes were on the Pirates, as to whether or not they were going to trade Andrew McCutchen. The Washington Nationals reportedly offered their top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito as one of three players in the deal, but the Pirates declined the offer. It’s fair to say that had the Pirates pulled the trigger on the trade and acquired Giolito, Glasnow would likely start 2017 back with Indianapolis.
The fifth starter spot will likely be a competition of internal options consisting of Glasnow, Trevor Williams, Steven Brault and Drew Hutchison. While it sounds obvious, Glasnow has the most upside out of the group, and General Manager Neal Huntington deep down would probably want Glasnow to have the inside track for a rotation spot. I think personally that if Glasnow performs decent in Spring Training by throwing enough strikes and missing bats consistently, he should have a spot in the Pirates rotation to begin 2017.