MLB Pipeline names Bell, Glasnow Bucs' top prospects

MLB Pipeline names Bell, Glasnow Bucs' top prospects

PITTSBURGH - This time last year, Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow had a month's worth of Triple-A experience. Now, they're entering their first offseason as Major Leaguers with one more Minor League accolade.

The high-ceiling rookies were recognized by MLBPipeline.com as the Pirates' prospects of the year, with Bell the Bucs' Player of the Year and Glasnow their Pitcher of the Year. Glasnow was previously named previously named MLBPipeline.com's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, so this honor comes as no surprise.

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Bell and Glasnow -- who debuted in Triple-A on Aug. 1, 2015 -- made their way to Pittsburgh this season. Bell immediately made an impact, hitting .273/.368/.406 with three home runs and 19 RBIs in 45 games. Glasnow's transition was bumpier, as he posted a 4.24 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 23 1/3 innings over seven appearances, including four starts.

Both players earned their call-ups by dominating the International League for Triple-A Indianapolis. Bell recorded a .295/.382/.468 triple-slash line with 14 homers and 60 RBIs in 114 games, while Glasnow proved to be unhittable with a 1.87 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 20 starts.

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While Glasnow's Triple-A numbers occasionally looked like he was pitching with a cheat code, he called 2016 a frustrating season and said his stuff wasn't as good as in previous years. He walked five batters per nine innings in Indianapolis, and he did the same for Pittsburgh while giving up nearly a hit per inning.

Glasnow attributed those issues to mechanical flaws; specifically, his delivery was too slow and long, not quick and compact. He was pleased with the work he did to address those problems at the end of the season, and his progress was evident in his last start on Sept. 30, when he gave up one run on one hit and struck out four in five innings.

"It was good to get closer to back on track," Glasnow said.

Bell immediately showed the potential of his switch-hitting bat, crushing a pinch-hit grand slam in his second Major League at-bat on July 9 at PNC Park. He showcased an approach beyond his level of experience, drawing 21 walks while striking out 19 times in the Majors.

"It wasn't as much success as I hoped for, but I got a good taste of how pitchers are going to attack me," Bell said.

He also showed that he has room to grow defensively, though some of that turned out to be beyond his control. After spending the last two years learning first base, Bell was thrust back into the outfield out of necessity in Pittsburgh. Bell will continue to work at first base and in right field over the winter, aiming to be prepared at both positions come Opening Day.

Bell finished with 128 at-bats in the Majors this season, two short of the cut-off to maintain his rookie eligibility. In other words, Bell will be eligible for the National League Rookie of the Year Award next season -- so this time next year, he could bring home a Major League accolade.

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.