Take an imposing pitcher with plus stuff, throw him in the most pitcher-friendly league in baseball and there's always the potential to see some crooked numbers.
Healthy again after missing the first three weeks of the year with a tight lower back, Tyler Glasnow is opening some eyes with a string of dominant outings. Despite the success, he says he's not necessarily surprised by how well he's performing.
The third-ranked Pirates prospect allowed two hits while striking out seven batters over six innings in the Class A Advanced Bradenton Marauders' 1-0 win over the host Jupiter Hammerheads. The win extended his scoreless streak to 24 1/3 frames.
"I think it was a pretty good start for me," Glasnow said. "I felt a little shaky in the warmup before the game, but I went out realizing that I didn't need to get too upset about my mechanics or anything like that. I told myself to just be instinctual and have fun."
The shutout streak has the 6-foot-7 California native on a four-game win streak.
Glasnow (4-3) retired the first six batters he faced before Noah Perio beat out an infield single to third base to begin the third. Matt Juengel lined a one-out double to left field in the fourth -- one of the only hard-hit balls off Glasnow all evening -- and he worked around a walk in the fifth and sixth innings before turning things over to the bullpen.
"Early on, I was throwing a lot more fastballs, but I included a lot of changeups early in the count and I was using my curveball for strikeouts," said Glasnow, who didn't make his season debut until April 25. "It's about getting back into that fifth-day routine. It just feels familiar again and that comes with experience."
The 20-year-old right-hander has been virtually unhittable over the past month. In his past six starts dating back to May 16, Glasnow has allowed two runs on 18 hits over 31 2/3 innings, good for an 0.57 ERA. Over that span, he's fanned 40 batters and issued 15 walks.
Despite the string of quality starts and even longer collection of zeros, Glasnow knows there's room for growth.
"My control, I need to get more consistent," he said. "I'm never going to not walk people, but I want to keep my control at a more consistent level. A lot of my problems when I get into trouble come from looking at my mechanics. But these past few starts when things start to go bad, I just let my body do it for me. My walks have been lower and I'm a more confident pitcher."
Selected by the Pirates in the fifth round of the 2011, Glasnow went 9-3 with a 2.18 ERA in 24 South Atlantic League starts with West Virginia last season. As a 19-year old, he led all Pirates Minor Leaguers with 164 strikeouts in 111 1/3 frames.
In 198 1/3 career Minor League innings, Glasnow has 263 strikeouts. He's allowed 4.8 hits per nine innings since 2012 and opponents have not hit more than .168 against him in any of his three years in pro ball.
"I can still be challenged if I went to throw against a high school team," Glasnow said. "It's a self-battle. I want to do well every day. I try to hold myself to a certain standard and I want to reach those goals. The challenge comes from within."
Bradenton's Josh Smith struck out a pair of batters over two perfect innings of relief and Bryton Trepagnier worked around two ninth-inning walks to earn his sixth save of the year.
Jupiter starter Austin Brice (4-6) allowed one run on seven hits and three walks while striking out two batters over seven innings.