BEST PLAYER: In a season in which fellow prospect righthander Jameson Taillon has come back strong after sitting out two seasons with injuries, righty Tyler Glasnow remains the organization’s top young talent.
The 22-year-old Glasnow has been ranked as the system’s No. 1 prospect after each of the past two seasons because of his high-90s fastball and big-breaking curveball.
Glasnow went 7-2, 1.70 through his first 16 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis. He had recorded 10.5 strikeouts and 5.1 walks per nine innings, while allowing just 53 hits (three home runs) in 90 innings.
The 6-foot-8 Glasnow, a 2011 fifth-round pick from high school in Santa Clarita, Calif., will join the injured Taillon in the big league rotation on Thursday.
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD: The Pirates cautioned against writing off righthander Mitch Keller too soon after he pitched to a 5.49 ERA with 16 walks in 20 innings at Rookie-level Bristol last year. The 2014 second-rounder from Xavier High in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had been limited by a strained forearm.
The 20-year-old Keller has rewarded the Pirates’ faith this season. Through 12 starts at low Class A West Virginia, he went 5-5, 2.71 with an outstanding ratio of 79 strikeouts to nine walks in 70 innings. He had given up just 51 hits, thanks to an outstanding sinker and a plus curveball.
Following last season, Keller spent time working on his mechanics in instructional league.
“I really cleaned up my delivery, and I can get the ball where I want it now and consistently throws strikes,” Keller said. “I also have more power behind my pitches now. I feel stronger from the start and stay that way into the late innings.”
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Double-A Altoona catcher Reese McGuire is an outstanding defender and has a great eye at the plate. However, the 2013 first-rounder from high school in Covington, Wash., has slugged just .331 through nearly 300 games in a four-year pro career.
The lefthanded-swinging McGuire hit .269/.325/.331 through 51 games this season, with 11 doubles, a triple and a home run. Even an outstanding 25 walks against 14 strikeouts could not offset the low power production.