The Pirates were “behind the times” in their approach to developing pitchers under the previous front-office/coaching regime, right-hander Tyler Glasnow opines in a fascinating interview with Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Glasnow details the manner in which the Pirates emphasized pitching down and inside even as the rest of the league evolved to attacking the top of the strike zone with four-seamers and ramping up the usage of breaking balls. The right-hander calls the Pirates’ approach “a good strategy for [2013-15]” but an outdated one in the current era of data-driven approaches to pitching and game-planning. Glasnow explains how he began working at the top of the strike zone on his own toward the end of his time as a Pirate — he was never approached by the club about doing so — and that was the first thing the Rays encouraged him to do following the trade. The interview is rife with interesting (and, if you’re a Pirates fan, frustrating) quotes from Glasnow and is well worth a full look regardless of which team you follow.
Taking a look elsewhere in the division…
- The “two-way player” criteria established by Major League Baseball within this winter’s slate of rule changes puts National League clubs at a disadvantage, writes Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). The rules, which stipulate that a pitcher who wishes to gain two-way designation must start 20 games as a position player (with three plate appearances per start), appear to have been written with Shohei Ohtani in mind (and perhaps Brendan McKay) but don’t allow for someone like the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen to easily attain that status. Lorenzen played 29 games in center last season, including six starts. In two of those instances, he played every inning of an extra-inning game in the outfield, and in another he came in to throw two innings of relief before returning to center. Lorenzen called the criteria “obnoxious” in chatting with Rosenthal, who notes that the Reds are among the teams that have approached the league about the issue. Over the past two seasons, Lorenzen has batted .241/.302/.468 with five home runs in 87 plate appearances. He logged 89 innings in center field last season after serving as a frequent pinch-hitter a year prior in 2018.
- Cubs skipper David Ross has at least considered utilizing righty Tyler Chatwood as a multi-inning reliever, he tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Ross still calls Chatwood the favorite for the fifth slot in the rotation, but he also points to Chatwood hitting 99 mph out of the bullpen and the fact that he pitched in every inning while functioning in various roles last season. Ross likens Chatwood to Kenta Maeda, suggesting that he could function as a starter for much of the season before shifting to a multi-inning relief option late in the year and potentially into the postseason. If Chatwood once again struggles as a starter early in the season, it seems likely the organization will shift him back into that role and look to alternative options in the rotation.
A designated hitter should NOT be considered a position player. If so, any time a National League starting pitcher bats 3 times, it should count too. It’s the same thing. Actually it’s even more because those guys have to pitch as well.
Yeah that is the easy solution.. don’t count DH unless the NL adopts it, but we’ll save that argument for another day.
Or just force the senior citizens league to join 1973 already.
Forget 1973, let’s just join the NFL and have completely separated offenses and defenses. If a pitcher doesn’t have to hit, then why should a catcher that bats .180 or a slick fielding shortstop that can’t hit out of the infield or an outfielder like Billy Hamilton that hasn’t figured out he can outrun grounders, but still hits the ball in the air every time.
Or you could just continue watching AL games and leave the NL games to people that like them.
K4 – Screw the DH. The NL is more interesting to watch.
LOL. The AL and their old ass DHs and fragile pitchers are the perfect place for minor leaguers who are too old for the minors but not good enough to play a whole position. The training wheels are good for their aging unskilled hitters but it’s not reasonable to have interleague games since the NL takes far more athletic ability. The AL teams should still exist, but more as an over-35 league. They could compete with the Japanese and Korean leagues to find a representative to face an NL team in a true World Series.
Or count both the pitcher in the NL and the DH in the AL. The point was if you can count a DH, then you can count a pitcher
Another possibility is for MLB to add the DH in the NL and add the pitcher as a batting position in the AL. It’s not the game I grew up watching but NEITHER are the rules currently in place.
The arrogance of Huntington and the rest of his staff completely destroyed the Pirates. The pitching philosophy worked starting in 2012 with Lirano and Burnett, but the league caught up to them after 2015 and they refused to change. Cole, Glasnow, and Morton are proof of this.
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
That strategy had success with bounce-back pitchers like Lyles who had that style but you’re right, for others it was incompatible.
What did Lyles do again, aside from his first 5 or 6 starts that lasted 5 innings each? You’re being too kind. Searage was called a genius thanks to AJ and Liriano finding a rebirth here.
It worked for a few years, but then it started to show signs of failure, and the Pirates’ didn’t change with the times, and tried to jump ship when it was too late.
Lyles was pitching like an ace up until he got injured last May. He was terrible when he came back til when he got traded
It was hurdle not Huntington.
Hurdle did whatever Huntington told him too just so he could keep a job in the majors.
What Glasnow says is probably true. Fact is he was given every opportunity to perform in Pittsburgh and he failed. The tuff nut to swallow in that trade was Meadows. To many hyping Glasnow. He hasn’t proven a thing yet.
Seriously? It’s clear the Pirates hindered his progress. 23 starts since leaving Pittsburgh and has pitched to the tune of a 2.94 ERA, 0.989 WHIP, 10.8 K/9. Meadows has looked really good. But certainly not any better than the line I just provided with Glasnow. A stud, top of the rotation pitcher would be FAR more valuable to the Pirates than a power hitting outfielders right now!
As a Pirate fan I would gladly take them both back in a heartbeat!
Glasnow was not given every opportunity to perform in Pittsburgh. He was banished to the bullpen after making less than 20 major league starts, after being an absolute stud in the minor leagues. He was probably banished to the pen and eventually given away because he knew their philosophy was trash.
It’s okay, fatz. The MLBTR community is here for you in your time of need. Just put down the Nutting Kool-Aid and we can help you put real statistics to good use and show you the way to enlightenment,
He didn’t say anything about Bob Nutting, so wtf are you talking about?
He assumes the only kind of peabrain who would even try to badmouth Glasnow AFTER his obvious breakout year would have to have been mesmerized by Bob Nutting.
Glasnow proved a lot last year, that his ceiling in MLB is indeed as high as it was before the Pirates tried to ruin his career.
The only reason Chatwood is the favorite for the 5th starter role is because of his contract. He would be better utilized out of the pen.
Mills is pitching well this spring, but Chatwood looked ok last year, certainly good enough for a 5th starter. I agree he would be better in relief/swing man role, but the Cubs don’t have much to choose from for that 5th starter. Alzolay looks like a bullpen arm, struggled so far, but huge K/9 potential. I like Mills, but skeptical he can keep up the success he’s having. His stuff just doesn’t look that good.
Pittsburgh is indeed behind the times…their team payroll would be better suited for a bygone era.
“No no no, keep throwing your worst pitch in the part of the zone every hitter has a 1.000 OPS in, it will work! Also you make minimum wage and have no say in the matter.”
The Pirates are playing from behind in the majors. However, they have several young guys starting their MLB career’s and an improving farm system.
And a new management team that is not living in the past. I am optimistic!
Pirates Pitching : it only works for certain types of pitchers. NH went out and got Vet players who fit the mold but didn’t draft them, Ray didn’t seem to know anything else.
Two Way Player: Rule is dumb as all get out. Let players play. Damn the rules. If a pitcher can hit or a hitter can pitch let them with out any added regulations.
If Lester struggles in the opening gate…..will he be put in the bullpen ?
If Quintana is getting hit hard, will he be traded for peanuts. ?
If Darvish is hurt again, will we see Alzolay come up from Iowa ?
If Ross is better at dancing than being a Manager……who will be the next Cubs Manager ?
The Cubs can’t put Lester in the bullpen, as they have zero rotation depth.
I think Alzolay will be slated for the pen and as an option if Kimbrel fails. Alec Mills better suited as a starter.
Bigbadjohnny, Ross is amazing dancer so he will have to step it up as manager . I’m rooting for chatwood and his stuff is filthy but he has to throw strikes more consistently. Alzolay if stays healthy should be a good #2.. I like mills but it’s only spring training so we shall see how he does in real games . Chatwood , Lester. Q all gone in 2021. I see know reason to fear Darvish won’t have a sub 4.00 e.r.a. this year and 15+ wins
Mikel he is not a #2 no way is he a #2 keep dreaming his “potential” and “ceiling” might say #2 but he won’t end up there if he is it’s by default after all the cubs SP’s become free agents and he is there by default
BIGBADJOHNNY -I couldn’t help but hear the theme from Soap playing in my head while reading your post
Very underrated comment. Although most kids around here won’t get the reference.
SOAP was a great TV show. Absolutely awesome!
It can’t be stated enough:
The Pirates had Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton, three bona-fide elite arms….and purposely made them be bad at pitching because they decided nothing was ever going to change in MLB past 2015. This also turned them from probable contenders (if they got the Astros and Rays versions of those 3) to battling for last place every year.
What a massive, massive failure by ownership and the front office. MLB should blacklist all front office people involved.
BTW in the article Glasnow called Mitch Keller “disgusting”, meaning elite, and now the Pirates finally understand the concept of evolving gameplans 5+ years after everyone else, he might be a prime breakout guy this year.
Not sure if you noticed or not, but the entire front office was fired for that disaster. Ownership fired them. Blaming ownership for a failed pitching philosophy is just plain nonsense.
You’re wrong. It CAN be stated enough.
Let’s not forget that a lot of this “pitching up in the zone” stuff was dependent on the introduction of the ‘super ball”. IF they go back to a normal ball, a lot of that approach will be affected. If Searage and company are to be blamed for anyway, it’s probably naivete that a change like that would happen.
Ya, the NL teams get skrewed by the “two-way” rule. Hopefully, MLB changes it before long. It shouldn’t be too difficult; it really only applies to Ohtani this year anyway. But other teams might want to “build up” plate or innings appearances before the 2021 season.
Pitchers hitting in the NL is quite stupid and the people who think it is wonderful to see pitchers go up to the dish and make a mockery out of hitting a baseball need to wake the hell up! I say take the American league DH out of the line up and also remove national league pitchers from the line up as well. All major league teams bat 8 hitters only. An 8 hitter lineup with no pitcher or DH involved period you goats! Get with it and use some basic creativity.
Why let anyone bat at all? Just use a computer simulation for what is the most likely result of an at bat and if a fielder is in that general area, call it an out.
The lesson is, no matter strategy you use, the league will catch on pretty quickly. There is no such thing as the best way to pitch, if you aren’t willing to change up your routine. Same with hitting. You can be the best hitter in the world, but if you can not lay off a low slider, high FB, etc., the pitchers will know and they will beat you.
Javier Baez looking for Rendon type of contract……..if that is true…….he is a gone……..Ricketts will not pay for that…………..on the plus side, he will have a great return in ready MLB prospects players.
Anthony Rizzo will stick around as a Cub…..he will sign his extension…….his main goal will be the next Cubs Manager……maybe a Player / Manager if Ross fails by 2022.
Rizzo is not taking over as manager. Get real.
Cubs did not write off 2020 yet…….but by June, Theo will see where this team is at……will he add or subtract…….that is the question………..if he adds, it will be for another starting pitcher…….if he subtracts…….six – eight players could be gone by end of July………Bryant, Contreras, Schwarber, Kimbrel, Chatwood and maybe Darvish………right now, Darvish has a good contract, but he has to waive No Trade clause……..another Big Chip Trade piece is Kyle Hendricks…..if he has a good season, and the Cubs are not, Hendricks is consider one of the underrated pitchers in the league with a great contract to afford…….Hendricks is a soft tosser whose stuff will be figured out someday…..so better to sell high than sell low…..as for Bryant, Theo has to include Heyward in the trade …..even if we have to take on the other teams bad contract………look at San Diego and Will Meyers plus Prospects in future talks with the Cubs.
As a Pirates fan, I noticed how these young studs like Cole and Glasnow did so well in AAA but struggled in MLB. I also noticed how they were more “contained” than in AAA. They actually let loose in AAA but couldn’t in Pittsburgh. So, I realized it was the coaching who were the issue because those guys pitched differently and wasn’t effective in the majors. I think Kuhl and Williams benefit from that “old” style of pitching. But guys like Musgrove, Archer, Brault, and Keller really could benefit with a “new” style of pitching. Brault I am optimistic about being a starter and I think he has the goods to shut down batters. But for how long? That is my concern. Is he a 3 inning bullpen arm or 6 innings SP? I think the coaching let Brault down like they did with Morton. Brault has similarities with Morton on how he attacks and his off speed pitches are nearly identical in speed and break. Brault just hasn’t been able to utilize his fastball. I think he can touch mid-90s with his fastball. Maybe not a power pitcher that Keller can be, but good enough to be Top 3 in the rotation.
Really excited to see what the Pirates do this offseason..
When does free agency start again?