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 The right-hander calls the Pirates’ approach “a good strategy for [2013-15]” but an outdated one in the current era of data-driven approaches to pitching and game-planning.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.