Minor league report: Power arms show their value in Single-A
West Virginia Power pitching coach Jeff Johnson is like a kid with the best toys in Charleston's biggest sandbox and, boy, is he having fun.
That's because Johnson, who has been with the team for four of the past six seasons, has some of the Pirates' most valuable pitching prospects at his disposal.
Power arms such as Tyler Glasnow, Luis Heredia and Clay Holmes are under Johnson's watchful eye, and the results are undeniable.
“The team chemistry is good, the makeup of the players is good, and they play hard and work hard every day,” Johnson said. “It's by far the most fun I've had at this level. Arm-wise, (the Power) are probably more talented than we've ever been.”
West Virginia (11-8) has given up more than four runs once in the past 11 games, including four total in its past four contests, all wins heading into Friday night.
Heredia, an 18-year-old right-hander who was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Pirates in 2010, is getting his first taste of full-season Single-A ball after spending the past two seasons in the New York-Penn League and the Gulf Coast League.
He made his debut after the all-star break June 23, and through just four starts, he is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 17 innings.
“His intangibles are awesome,” Johnson aid. “He's got a great feel for what's going on, a great feel for the game, how things are working, who's hitting, who's running — you just don't see that out of 18-year-old kids.”
As for Glasnow, he has taken some of the most impressive statistics in minor league baseball and continued to improve on them.
The 6-foot-7 right-hander has struck out 110 hitters in 76 1⁄3 innings, good enough for second in the South Atlantic League.
But his growth can be measured more in the decline of walks rather than the piling up of strikeouts.
While his 43 walks is a bit high, he has issued just eight walks in his past five starts as opposed to 16 in the previous five, while lowering his pitch count by pitching to contact more.
“One of the big things early in the season was getting across to him that efficiency is where it's at,” Johnson said. “A 20-pitch inning striking out the side is not where we want to be. He's embraced that and he likes it now. He's not afraid to see the ball hit the bat.”
Ryan Pritt is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates coach Sofield interviews for Padres manager
- With fates of key players uncertain, Pirates face important offseason
- Pirates offseason breakdown: Happ among tough decisions
- Pirates say goodbye to veteran leaders Burnett, Ramirez
- Pirates notebook: Fastball command issues hurt Cole against Cubs
- Maddon, Hurdle are the models for modern major-league managers
- Rossi: Cole is simply not good enough for Pirates
- Rossi: Time to give Pirates owner Nutting his due
- Pirates no match for Cubs, Arrieta in wild-card loss