Tyler Glasnow had the kind of first-half success that has him poised to move up prospect lists everywhere. And he owes it all to his willingness to make a change to his change.
The Pirates' No. 17 prospect struck out seven and allowed three hits over a career-high six scoreless innings Tuesday night, pitching Class A West Virginia to a 3-1 victory over Kannapolis.
After allowing a two-out triple to Tim Anderson in the third inning, Glasnow (5-2) retired eight straight batters before walking Anderson with one out in the sixth. Glasnow got the next batter, Jason Coats, to hit into a double play to end the inning and his night.
"I felt good in my bullpen before [the game]," Glasnow said. "I was trying to slow my tempo down. I feel like the first inning of a lot of my games have just been kind of fast-paced, just trying to get through it. Today, everything felt good and slow. I felt like I could work with my off-speed [stuff] more."
The 19-year-old right-hander has been thriving in his first full Minor League season, leading the South Atlantic League with 110 strikeouts while ranking sixth with a 1.09 WHIP and seventh with a 2.48 ERA.
Glasnow credits a renewed focus on his changeup, which entering the season was considered behind his fastball and curve in terms of development.
"It's like night and day from the beginning of the season or from last year," he said "These past seven or eight starts, I've been working with our pitching coach, Jeff Johnson, and he's changed my whole my mind-set on changeups.
"I never really wanted to throw 'em because I felt like, in high school, there wasn't a need to, so I wasn't a believer in them. I feel just as confident, if not more confident, in my changeup than my fastball some games."
Selected by the Pirates in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft, Glasnow had not pitched past the fifth inning in his first 27 Minor League starts.
"I'm really happy. In the first half, I had an inning limit and now we're later in the season and [manager Michael Ryan] said, 'If you have a low pitch count, I'm going to let you go six,'" he said.
"Today I had a low pitch count heading into the sixth and he was like, 'Just go out for another one.' And I was pretty excited to hear him say that."
While some players set statistical goals or look toward milestones like being promoted, Glasnow said he just wants to replicate what he's done on the hill over his first 3 1/2 months with the Power.
"Staying with my approach and not getting away from what I've been doing," he said. "Me saying I don't want to walk people is not a huge thing. I feel like if I just keep doing what I'm doing and stay focused on a routine, everything will fall into place. Being able to throw my off-speed for strikes and being composed and have a good tempo on the mound is what I'm trying to work on."
Ryan Hafner took over for Glasnow and gave up a run on one hit over the final three innings to record his second save.
Walker Gourley was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Pirates No. 8 prospect Barrett Barnes plated a run for the Power, who snapped a five-game losing streak.