The Pittsburgh Pirates need pitching help and some reportedly could be on the way soon in the form of top prospects Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the Pirates could summon either one or both of their Super Two prospects sometime in June. Glasnow and Taillon are both currently in Triple-A Indianapolis and are ranked as the team’s top minor league prospect and No. 4 prospect overall, respectively.
Glasnow is a big, right-handed power pitcher whose fastball tops out in the upper-90s. The 6-foot-8, 225-pounder, also has a knee-buckling curveball and changeup. His biggest issue is his control, though he has made significant strides in the area over his five years in the minors.
Glasnow is coming off his worst start of the season, surrendering six hits and three runs in five innings of work against Syracuse on May 12. He also walked five and struck out just one. He threw a season-high 98 pitches but only recorded 50 strikes.
Glasnow is 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in seven starts on the season. The 22-year-old has registered 49 strikeouts and 18 walks in 38.0 innings of work. The International League strikeout leader has two double-digit strikeout performances and has permitted just 27 hits and nine earned runs. Glasnow ranks 11th in the IL with a 2.13 ERA and 18th in WHIP at 1.18.
Glasnow was selected by the Pirates in the fifth round (No. 152 pick overall) of the 2011 draft and is ranked as the No.8 prospect in Minor League Baseball this year. He has a 30-17 record with a 2.07 ERA in 88 career games.
Taillon is a big, hard-thrower as well with his fastball consistently reaching the mid-90s. The 24-year-old also has a big over-hand curve and his changeup as well as his control is better than Glasnow’s. His biggest issue over the past few seasons has been his health. Taillon missed the entire 2014 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and then was forced to sit out last season with an inguinal hernia.
Taillon has returned in a big way this season, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.69 ERA in six starts. He has gone at least six innings in five of his six starts and has lasted seven innings in each of his last three games, which includes tossing a season-high 100 pitches against Syracuse on May 9.
Taillon has compiled 37.1 innings of work this year, surrendering 25 hits and seven runs. He also has recorded 32 strikeouts compared to just four free passes. Taillon leads the International League with a 0.78 WHIP and is fifth in ERA at 1.69.
Taillon is ranked the No. 50 prospect overall in MILB. He was taken by the Pirates with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft. Taillon is 18-22 with a 3.54 ERA in 81 career games.
Chad Kuehl is another top prospect in the starting rotation in Indianapolis and could make the journey to Pittsburgh sometime this summer. The 23-year-old right-hander is 2-0 with a minuscule 1.10 ERA in 32.2 innings of work over six games. He is limiting hitters to a.184 average and has struck out 24 batters while walking eight.
— MiLB.com (@MiLB) May 12, 2016
Kuehl doesn’t have overpowering stuff, like Glasnow and Taillon, but he is still developing his secondary pitches — a slider and changeup. The 23-year-old right-hander, out of the University of Delaware, has been very durable in his first three years of professional ball. Kuehl, who currently leads the IL in ERA, has a 29-14 overall record with a 2.70 ERA in 73 career starts.
Pittsburgh is currently second in the NL Central with a 18-16 record, though the Pirates have dropped seven of their last 10 games after falling to the Chicago Cubs 9-4 on Friday night as Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano gave up nine hits and eight runs, including three homers, in 4.2 innings of work. With the loss, Liriano fell to 3-2 on the season with a 4.99 ERA — he went 12-7 with a 3.38 ERA a season ago.
Liriano is not the only starter struggling for the Pirates. Pittsburgh has had six different pitchers start a game so far this season and Gerrit Cole is the only pitcher (that has made more than one start) that has an ERA less than 4.00. Juan Nicasio, Jeff Locke, and Jonathon Niese fill out the rotation. Ryan Vogelson is the other pitcher who has made a start this season.
Pittsburgh’s starters are 13-12 on the season but have only registered 17 quality starts in 34 games. Their accumulative ERA is 4.64, and they have a 1.47 WHIP. Each of the Pirates’ starters has some kind of issue.
Liriano has been inconsistent all year, struggling badly with his control. Cole has experienced difficulty late in the game. Locke has recorded three straight quality starts despite having control issues, himself.
— #VotePirates (@Pirates) May 14, 2016
Nicasio and Niese have struggled the most.
Nicasio is 3-3 with a 4.34 ERA though he has just three quality starts in seven games. Nicasio has only pitched seven innings once and has given up four runs in three of his starts, including each of his last two games.
Niese has also only recorded three quality starts and has been roughed up recently. The veteran left-hander has permitted at least seven hits and three runs in each of his past four outings. Overall, he is 3-2 with a 5.63 ERA.
[Photo by Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press]