By choosing Tyler Glasnow to round out their starting rotation, the Pittsburgh Pirates are erring on the side of upside.

An up-and-down Spring Training has come to an end for Tyler Glasnow and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both parties will now head north to Boston for games that, you know, count.

It certainly took a while to get to this point, and it is no coincidence that Drew Hutchison, Glasnow and Trevor Williams racked up the most innings this spring in the Pirates’ camp.  And every one of those innings were needed, if you put lock, stock and barrel into every update put out by Pirates brass during this process.

With apologies to sir Paul McCartney, the Long and Winding Road belonged to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the destination should have been seen from miles away.

Go With The Upside

With other apologies to Williams and Steven Brault, who performed admirably, the decision should have been Glasnow all along provided he looked like an abject mess throughout most of spring training. In Glasnow, we may be talking about a once every 10 year type of pitching prospect. A live, plus fastball such as his is an excellent foundation in its own right.

Coupled with his frame, it can be deadly. Third-pitch questions aside, his curveball is already major league proficient. Oh, and those third pitch concerns? He’s working on it. Whether it’s a new grip, or throwing more two-seamers, Glasnow and the Pittsburgh Pirates are throwing the kitchen sink at making sure that he’s ready for major league hitting in 2017.

And is that not more than enough for a fifth starter?

Contrarians will say that not pitching much in April as a number five could disrupt his progression. Those who disagree with the move will point to the handful of shaky outings Glasnow had during Spring Training. I would counter by having them look to his strikeout numbers and ask themselves what type of pitcher they would want from their fifth starter.

If our recent twitter poll is any indication, the majority of folks agree with the decision

The Pittsburgh Pirates could have went with Williams, who would have been solid, or Brault who would have given them a lone left-handed starter. Instead, they will go with the tall, lanky, unique young hurler – just 23 years old for most of 2017 – who has a real chance to be a front of the rotation starter for years to come. If he fails, he fails, and the Pirates will have a better understanding of Glasnow’s true ceiling.

But if he succeeds, it could set the club up at the top of their rotation for the foreseeable future.

The same just cannot be said for the other horses in the Pirates’ stable, as solid as they were.

So in retrospect, yeah. It was an easy choice all along.

Image Credit – Flickr Creative Commons

Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years. Jason's previous stops include, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA) When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)