By Jim Lane
CURVE, Pa. — Although he stands at 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds, Curve pitcher Tyler Glasnow hasn’t always been big.
“My freshman year in high school, I was only about 5-8,” Glasnow was saying recently at Peoples Natural Gas Field. “By my senior year, I was 6-7 or 6-8,” he said, smiling. “I grew a lot.”
“My dad is about 6-3 and my mom is 5-10, but I got my height from my mom’s side (of the family),” he continued. “The luck of the draw, I guess.”
Born in Newhall, Calif., Glasnow is from an athletic family.
“My mom was a gymnast,” he said. “She went to Cal State Fullerton and later became NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Coach of the Year at Cal State Northridge. My dad, he’s the brains of the family — real smart guy — swam at Notre Dame. He trains at the Santa Barbara Health Club.”
Tyler Glasnow didn’t attend college after being picked in the fifth round of the 2011 amateur draft by the Pirates out of Hart High School.
“I was kind of goofy as a kid,” he joked. “I was 5-8 with a size 15 shoe. I was pretty good at basketball and played football as a freshman, but I got hurt a lot, so I stuck with baseball, which was my favorite sport anyway.”
Hart High School is noted for its baseball program. Pirate announcer Bob Walk is a Hart grad. So are Padres pitcher James Shields and Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer.
“Our high school has a very good program with a lot of good coaches,” Glasnow said. “When you’re growing up, you see those guys and think good things can happen for you, too. It gives you something to work for.
“I’ve talked with Bob Walk a few times and I worked out with Trevor Bauer when I was younger,” Glasnow said.
Glasnow, who won’t be 22 years old until August, has turned a lot of heads in his brief pro career. He’s rated as the Pirates’ No. 1 prospect by Baseball America, which also says he has the best fastball in the organization.
He was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Year in 2014 after posting a 12-5 record and 1.74 ERA in 23 starts at advanced-A Bradenton. He was a similar honor in 2013 when he went 9-3 with a 2.18 ERA at low-A West Virginia in the South Atlantic League where he struck out 164 batters in 111 innings.
His first pro season was 2012 where he went 0-3 with a 2.10 ERA in the Gulf Coast Rookie League. He started the GCL championship playoff game and helped the Pirates win the title.
Twice named the Pirates’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Glasnow says he doesn’t put a lot of stock in ratings and past performances.
“I just go out and play,” he said. “All that stuff is cool but I don’t get caught up in it. If I do well, that’s a bonus, but my goal is to get off those lists and go to the majors.”
Glasnow said he’s had a lot of good teachers in his young career, citing Jeff Johnson, Jim Benedict, Scott Mitchell and current Curve pitching coach Justin Meccage.
“They’ve done a lot with my mechanics and mental game, too,” he said. “Pitching is a lot about the mental approach.”
Only in his fourth pro season, Glasnow has had Tom Prince as his manager for three years.
“He’s hard and expects a lot from you,” Glasnow said. “But I love playing for Princey. He has everyone’s best interests at heart. I have a good relationship with him and have learned a lot. He has a great baseball mind.”
As of this writing (July 6), Glasnow was only 2-2 with a 2.76 ERA for the Curve and has spent some time on the disabled list with a sprained ankle. He insists that it hasn’t been a disappointing season, though.
“I’m glad it’s just a small ankle thing, just a minor setback,” he said. “But I’ll probably have a few of them in my career. I was hurt at the beginning of last year and missed three weeks or so. Actually, I’ve been lucky with nothing serious.”
He liked Altoona and the Eastern League.
“Ever since I started, I wanted to get to this level,” he said. “There’s a lot of hype about Double-A. The fans are great and you’ve got the roller coaster. I like the town, too. It’s been a good experience.”