It’s a very limited Thursday slate, but we’ve wrung out the very best pitching situations for your viewing pleasure. Check ’em out!
The second of the two biggest Pirates prospects among pitchers gets his career underway today, as Tyler Glasnow will take the hill against Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals. Following in the footsteps of Jameson Taillon before him, Glasnow—a top-15 prospect in Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus before the season—is coming off a strong run with Triple-A Indianapolis. Glasnow made 17 starts with a 1.78 ERA, 10.6 K/9 and a 1.14 WHIP. He is huge (6-foot-8), and boasts a mid-90s fastball with a good curve and a changeup that’s still coming around. Like most tall pitchers, his mechanics will be a point of contention as long as his walk rate is iffy.
Trevor Bauer has been red-hot of late, and is within a couple quick outs of getting his season ERA under 3.00. Bauer’s great June has bled into July, and in his seven games (six starts) since the calendar turned over from May, he’s got a 1.81 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 49.2 innings and a slash-line against of .184/.246/.270. It’s amazing how long a baseball season is, but this is a guy whose ERA was up over 5.00 at the beginning of May.
We’ll obviously be keeping a close eye on Lucas Giolito, whose rather solid MLB debut (four scoreless innings, one hit, one strikeout and two walks) was rain shortened back on June 28. What’s particularly fun about this matchup is that he’s facing Bartolo Colón, who had just turned 21 when Giolito was born (July 14, 1994) and was working through his first season of professional ball with Rookie-level Burlington in the Appalachian League with teammates Russell Branyan and Jaret Wright.
He’s only made 12 starts this year, but Rich Hill has been very solid for the A’s. He’s going today against Doug Fister of the Astros. After missing a month with a strained groin, Hill returned last time out to hold the Pirates to just two runs on four hits in six innings with six strikeouts. The strikeouts have been impressive (80 in 70 innings), and Hill has held opposing batters to a .206/.299/.269 line with just two home runs over 288 plate appearances. He’s going to be a huge trade chip come the end of this month if he can sustain his health.
Danny Duffy appears to have this starting thing figured out. Since moving to the rotation in mid May, Duffy has maintained his high-end velocity while making 10 solid starts: 3.14 ERA, 66-11 K/BB ratio in 57.1 innings and a slash-line against of .220/.276/.411. Perhaps most impressively is that he’s gotten a 14 percent swinging strike rate—a number usually reserved for some of the best pitchers in the game.