Glasnow closes season with encouraging start

Pirates' top prospect underperformed in 2016, but allowed one hit in final outing

Glasnow closes season with encouraging start

ST. LOUIS -- The pitcher's mound stands 10 inches higher than home plate, and Tyler Glasnow towers another 6 feet and 8 inches above that. So sometimes he needs to be reminded: With his big frame and long limbs, he's already tall enough.

So Glasnow, looking to cap a frustrating season with a positive finish, focused on shortening up his delivery Friday night. The end result was perhaps Glasnow's most encouraging appearance in the Major Leagues, as he held the Cards to one run on one hit -- Jedd Gyorko's home run -- over five mostly efficient innings in the Pirates' 7-0 loss at Busch Stadium.

"It was good to end on a better note and take it into the offseason," Glasnow said. "It's only one outing, but looking back, the bad habits I got into before and slowly working out of them toward the end of the season, I think each outing was a little better. It was good to get closer to back on track."

Glasnow, the Bucs' top prospect and MLBPipeline.com's Pitcher of the Year, went 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 110 2/3 Triple-A innings this season. He walked five batters per nine innings, but he only allowed 5.3 hits per nine in 20 starts.

But Glasnow's issues became apparent in the Majors. Opponents took advantage of his lengthy delivery and ran all over the bases. His pace was too deliberate. Put simply, he wasn't successful. The 23-year-old right-hander entered Friday with a 4.91 ERA in six Major League appearances, three of them out of the bullpen, while letting opponents hit .284 with an .809 OPS.

"He's an honest self-evaluator. He hadn't done well," manager Clint Hurdle said. "These guys have high expectations for themselves based on what they've done or how they've competed. When they get the opportunity, they want to perform well. His outings had gone with some challenges. This one was very clean. Good to see."

So Glasnow will head into the offseason with a solid start in his memory, something to learn from when he begins ramping up his preparation for next year. Glasnow will enter Spring Training with a chance to win a spot in the Pirates' rotation.

Glasnow walked four batters and hit another in five innings on Friday, but he also struck out four and put the ball on the ground when necessary, inducing two double plays. He threw 79 pitches, only 12 more than it took him to grind through three innings on Sunday.

"Just easier when I get back to normal. You don't have to think about it," Glasnow said. "Everything can be more rhythmic. I can miss with a little bit more stuff, just because it comes out more firm. The break is sharper.

"That was one of the adjustments. I was too slow and trying to do everything on time rather than letting it happen athletically. I worked with [pitching coach Ray Searage] and a couple other people throughout this time I've been up here to try to get back to what I was. It took a while -- it's still a work in progress -- but it was nice working with everyone."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.