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Flashes of brilliance

Lawrence Pierce
West Virginia's Tyler Glasnow allowed just three hits and struck out eight in 42/3 shutout innings Sunday against Hagerstown.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's perfectly OK, for now at least, that Tyler Glasnow is a bit unpredictable, that he may overpower hitters on occasion and then struggle to find the plate.

He's a 19-year-old Power right-hander, a raw talent who touched 97 mph on the radar gun Sunday and generally throws in the mid-90s. As such, he needs time to find consistency.

This season, he's proving the adage that a Class A pitching prospect is much better served by flashing occasional brilliance, even with failures mixed in, than offering a steady diet of fair to middlin'.

"This guy at times is electrifying,'' said Power pitching coach Jeff Johnson. "He shows you what it eventually could be. So it's exciting.''

The 6-foot-7, 213-pound Glasnow overpowered the Hagerstown Suns for most of his 42/3 innings of work Sunday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park, striking out six of the first eight batters he faced, but the Suns rallied for four runs in the sixth against the Power bullpen for a 4-1 victory.

The California native, Pittsburgh's fifth-round draft pick in 2011, allowed just three hits - two in the infield - and no runs and struck out eight in dropping his earned run average to 2.92. He didn't walk a batter through three innings, thereby avoiding his season-long nemesis, but walked two in the fourth and another in the fifth.

Citing the bases on balls, Glasnow did not sound entirely pleased.  

"It was OK on paper,'' he said. "It wasn't bad by any means, but for the things I was working on, it wasn't the greatest. It kind of got away from me in the fourth and fifth innings. I walked a few guys. Command definitely got away from me. In the fourth and fifth, I just seemed to lose a little bit.''

His objectives, he said, are "just getting ahead of batters and really commanding the zone. I'm not really going out there to try to strike people out.''

An off-speed pitch always helps. "My changeup has been getting better,'' he added. "That's been a goal of mine, and I've been throwing that a lot more for strikes.''

Said Johnson, "He has instances where he gets a little wild, but that kid's special from a standpoint of talent. The ball comes out of his hand really well, and you can tell by the way the hitters swing that it's different.''

On May 23 against Lakewood, he struck out 12 in five innings but five days later against Greensboro walked seven in 32/3 innings.  

Johnson likes the fact that Glasnow is occasionally brilliant.

"A pretty good example of that was when we played Lakewood,'' he said. "He was on the plate, strikes all day. But he'll have one time a game he'll start to struggle, it seems. But he's doing a good job of being able to get back in the count.''

For the season, he's struck out 80 and walked 35 in 521/3 innings. He's allowed just 23 hits.

The Power (33-29), who entered the game in third place in the Northern Division, dropped a game and a half behind the Suns. Hickory sits in first place, a half-game ahead of the Suns.

The season's first half ends June 16.

POWER POINTS: The Power will finish the season's first half with eight road games, four in Delmarva beginning tonight and four in Greensboro. The Power and Shorebirds will play two on Tuesday. ... Thor Meeks, who played at Hurricane High and Marshall, is on the Hagerstown roster and travels with the team but is on the disabled list. He signed as a free agent with the Washington organization in April. ... The Power was limited to four hits, including Walker Gourley's home run to left in the sixth.

Reach Mike Whiteford at mikewhiteford@wvgazette.com.


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