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Unhittable Glasnow strikes out 1308/23/2013 12:57 AM ET
By Jonathan Raymond / MiLB.com
To hear Tyler Glasnow tell it, his start for Class A West Virginia on Thursday was emblematic of his season as a whole.
The right-hander delivered five no-hit frames for the Power, striking out a career-high 13 while walking five in an eventual 5-4 loss to the Charleston RiverDogs.
The No. 6 Pirates prospect issued four of the five free passes in the first two innings. Over his last three frames of work, he struck out eight of the 11 batters he faced.
"I came in the first inning, and I don't know, it just didn't really feel right. I struggled a lot in the first two innings. I was just wild, the ball was up and so I had I think like four of the walks in the first two and I guess I settled down in the fourth and fifth innings," he said. "My tempo at the beginning of the game was pretty fast. I had to slow it down a little. I was caught up in the game and had to relax in between each inning, make things easier for me and it started to flow.
"I feel like the first two innings was more of me being effectively wild. Walk a guy, strike a guy out, walk a guy, strike a guy out. Then I settled down in the fourth and fifth and had my best stuff, hit my spots and my curve and changeup felt better later too."
That path in Thursday's start provided a nice parallel for the season Glasnow, who turns 20 on Friday, has experienced in general.
In April and May he was still plenty effective, going 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA in 10 starts and he struck out 64 in 42 2/3 innings for a 13.50 K/9 mark. But he was also plenty wild, walking 6.33 per nine innings.
In the three months since, he's been even better, going 5-2 with a 1.84 ERA in 14 starts. He's maintained his strikeout rate, with a 13.57 mark over his last 63 2/3 innings. But he's cut his walks in about half, issuing free passes at a 3.28-per-nine innings rate since the beginning of June.
"From the beginning of the season to now, I've gotten a lot better. As opposed to the beginning where I was getting up there just like, whatever, throwing it, not having a plan and trying to overpower the hitter. Now I'm really starting to get a feel for all my pitches," he said. "Even if the game is not good, every game I've learned so much more. Jeff Johnson, our pitching coach, has helped me so much this year and I'm really learning how to pitch, how to command, how to read swings, how to manipulate hitters. I've still got a long way to go, but this year has been the biggest learning experience I've ever had in baseball.
"A big thing is my command and that has gotten a lot better, especially from the beginning of the season, when it was pretty bad. It's just slowly but surely gotten better each game and that's been a focus point for me, really repeating a form and staying consistent with it. Even like tonight, I had five walks and was bad in the beginning, but I feel like last year, if I had walked a couple guys in the first inning I'd just sort of fall apart. This year I'm like, 'Okay, what do I gotta do to fix it.'"
His overall stat line is impressive. With a 2.29 ERA, he ranks second in the South Atlantic League, and his 160 strikeouts in 106 1/3 innings have him tied for second-most with Triple-A Durham's Matt Buschmann across the Minor Leagues. The two hurlers are four behind the pace set by Double-A Tulsa's Daniel Winkler.
"I'm really happy with this year, not just all the strikeouts and all the stats -- that's a benefit that comes with it -- but just how much I've learned. I had no idea what I was in for at the beginning of the season and how much a full season can do. I just feel like a better pitcher overall, and the stats are cool. But even if they weren't that good, I'd be really happy with this year," he said.