Glasnow, Taillon among 8 sent to Minors

Righties joined by three other pitching prospects and McGuire, Ramirez, K. Marte

Glasnow, Taillon among 8 sent to Minors

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates made their first round of Spring Training roster cuts Monday morning, prior to the team's 3-1 win over the Red Sox, sending out a wave of young pitchers and two other top prospects who left general manager Neal Huntington with one encouraging thought.

"The future is bright," Huntington said. "A very exciting group, a very encouraging group to think about what can be, to think about how quickly they may be able to help us."

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Huntington was speaking particularly of the five pitching prospects sent to Minor League camp on Monday: Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault and Trevor Williams. The Bucs also reassigned catching prospect Reese McGuire, outfield prospect Harold Ramirez and non-roster left-hander Kelvin Marte to Minor League camp.

Pirates' Top 30 Prospects

Glasnow is Pittsburgh's top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and Taillon ranks at No. 4. Both rank among the Top 100 Prospects in baseball. Kuhl (No. 16), Brault (No. 17) and Williams (No. 24) also are all among the team's Top 30 Prospects.

"Each one of them brings something that's very, very intriguing," Huntington said. "Now you put that group of five together -- it bodes well for our future."

Pirates prospects toss in outing

But the Pirates' crop of pitching prospects runs so deep that those five won't all fit in Triple-A Indianapolis' rotation. The Bucs want to keep at least one experienced starter in Triple-A in case one of their big leaguers sustains an early injury, so one or two of the prospects sent down Monday -- Brault, Kuhl or Williams -- might have to start the season with Double-A Altoona.

Glasnow and Taillon, both among the Top 100 Prospects in baseball, could find their way into Pittsburgh's rotation later this year. Glasnow, 22, will continue to refine his fastball command, curveball and changeup in Triple-A.

Top 100 MLB Prospects

"I've just got to kind of get into the feel of things and get out there and just compete more," Glasnow said. "You get into more competition mode and things start to kind of fall into place. Like I said, I'm just excited to get back."

The Pirates want Taillon to get some more experience against upper-level Minor League hitters. Before this spring, the righty hadn't faced any since 2013. He has recovered fully from Tommy John surgery, and he showed his health and top-of-the-rotation potential this spring.

Brault, Kuhl and Williams all said they learned a lot in their first big league camp with the Bucs. They worked with pitching coach Ray Searage and tried to pick up on as much as possible from their teammates.

"I got a lot out of it," Brault said. "I got to meet all the guys that I hope to play with eventually."

"No one was really shut out to the younger guys," Williams added. "A lot of open ears. A lot of open minds."

Top Prospects: Brault, PIT

While the focus Monday was on the next generation of Pirates pitchers, they also sent out a potential front-line catcher (McGuire) as well as an outfielder (Ramirez) who put on a show at the plate this spring.

McGuire will start the season in Double-A, a challenge for him offensively, but Pittsburgh believes in its No. 5 prospect's defense behind the plate, especially after a chance to work in camp with Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and the big league pitching staff.

Ramirez, the Bucs' No. 6 prospect, hit .579 (11-for-19) with two doubles in 11 games this spring. Manager Clint Hurdle dubbed him a "bone collector," a player who consistently picks up base hits. After playing for Colombia in the upcoming World Baseball Classic qualifiers, Ramirez also will begin the season in Double-A.

"Swings the bat very, very well," Huntington said. "Really pleased with what he's done."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.