Do you see Tyler Glasnow in the rotation this year, and do you think he's ready? -- Greg, Sanford, N.C.Glasnow has shown some good signs this spring, especially in his last few outings. That's the kind of growth you want to see out of a young starter who might have
Do you see Tyler Glasnow in the rotation this year, and do you think he's ready? -- Greg, Sanford, N.C.
Glasnow has shown some good signs this spring, especially in his last few outings. That's the kind of growth you want to see out of a young starter who might have already proved everything he can in Triple-A. He's tweaked his delivery a little in an effort to battle against his adrenaline and long, lanky frame, and he's looked more comfortable on the mound. He's incorporating the changeup and a two-seam fastball, a pitch that helped Jameson Taillon last season. Pitch efficiency remains an issue, but his control has been better lately.
There is still room for improvement and more consistency from start to start. The Pirates' No. 1 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, had some great outings, and he's also had some lackluster appearances. But perhaps it's best that development takes place at the Major League level, because Glasnow's stuff will clearly play against anyone. Nobody has put their foot down and claimed the fifth spot in the rotation, as manager Clint Hurdle has said, so why not give it to the guy with the most potential? That'd be Glasnow.
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Are the Pirates looking at Jose Quintana from the White Sox, and are they done shaping their rotation? -- Ken, Scottsdale, Ariz.
It's my understanding that the Pirates would be interested in Quintana, but they have not found the price to their liking at this point. The White Sox, understandably, are going to have a very high asking price. Just look at the prospect haul they got from the Red Sox for Chris Sale: Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz.
Quintana makes perfect sense for the Pirates. He's a controllable, durable, affordable, top-of-the-rotation-type starter. It's just hard to see them giving up so many key pieces of their future, which might include guys like Austin Meadows, Glasnow or Mitch Keller. I'm going to say no for now, but stay tuned at the Trade Deadline if the Pirates are in the mix for a postseason spot.
I would like to see Adam Frazier as the second baseman and leadoff hitter with Josh Harrison as a super sub. -- Martin, Toledo, Ohio
Hurdle has talked about the idea of Harrison getting back to bouncing around the field, maybe seeing some time at third base and at second, where he played last year, maybe moving him to a corner-outfield spot when they need someone there. I don't think Harrison will return to a reserve role, but if he moves around, that opens up playing time at second base.
They have Frazier, a lefty hitter who has hit nowhere but leadoff this spring, and they really like what he's done. He made a solid Major League debut last season, more so at the plate than in the field. I wouldn't expect Frazier to be an everyday starter at second base -- he's not going to knock Harrison out of the lineup -- but I do think you'll see a lot of him this season.
What can the Pirates expect from Jungho Kang this season? -- Paul, Slippery Rock, Pa.
The Pirates also would like to know the answer to this question. Kang is currently waiting for his work visa in South Korea following his third DUI arrest since 2009. Reportedly, his visa was denied, which means he probably needs to wait for the appeal of his suspended eight-month sentence to be heard. He's trying to get his sentence down to a fine, which theoretically might make it easier to obtain a visa, get into the country and join the Pirates.
Once he does get here, if he does this year, he's going to need a full Spring Training. He has not yet faced live pitching. It'll take some time to get physically prepared for the season. In the meantime, you'll see a lot of David Freese at third base, as well as Phil Gosselin, Frazier and maybe Harrison. But the Pirates could use every possible bat in their lineup if they're going to compete with the Cubs and Cardinals this season, specifically Kang -- who has 30-homer potential -- in the cleanup spot to protect Andrew McCutchen.
I know everyone's interested in the fifth starter competition, but what about the guys who are in the rotation? They're the most important thing this season. -- Bill, Bradenton, Fla.
We tend to get caught up in Spring Training position battles, which typically take place on the fringes of the 25-man roster, but the Pirates' three most important pitchers this season are Gerrit Cole, Taillon and Ivan Nova. Important questions surround all three. Will Cole bounce back? Is Taillon due for a sophomore slump? Can Nova repeat his second-half success?
The good news: They've all had great springs. Cole looks healthy, comfortable and determined to put an injury-riddled season behind him. Teammates rave about Taillon's maturity in terms of his mentality, approach and feel for pitching. Nova's efficiency this spring -- key to his success last year -- is an encouraging sign for a rotation in need of innings.
Should we be worried about the way Tony Watson has pitched this spring considering the way he struggled as the closer? I like him in the eighth, but I don't know about the ninth. -- Jim, Pittsburgh
I would not recommend fretting too much over veteran players' Spring Training statistics. At this point, Watson has pitched in six Grapefruit League games, and four of them were scoreless. He couldn't get out of the inning in the other two, but again, it's Spring Training. In his first rough outing, he was working on his fastball command; it's easier for hitters to square up the ball when they realize someone's pretty much only throwing one pitch.
The Pirates don't seem too worried about Watson, and they feel good about the handful of arms in front of him, specifically Daniel Hudson, Felipe Rivero and Juan Nicasio.
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.