Tyler Glasnow’s Redemption?

I haven’t always hated Tyler Glasnow. In fact, there was a point 2016 where I was sure that I had stashed away a future hall of famer. I kept hearing people talk about this kid throwing for the Pirates Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis who was striking people out at will. But, as with nearly every story about the mythical exploits of a highly touted prospect, key details were left out. Sure, Tyler had a cannon arm and electric stuff, but not much emphasis was placed on the fact that he had no earthly idea where the ball was going to go once it left his hand.

While he could work out of trouble on sheer talent in the minors, Glasnow quickly found out that even in the strikeout happy MLB of today hitters were going to make him get the ball over the plate. My ingenious plan of getting in on the ground floor of Tyler Glasnow hurt my teams to the tune of a 4.24 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP backed up by 12.4% walk-rate.

Things could only get better in 2017 though right? I mean, Glasnow was going to get to work with Ray Searage, the pitching guru of all pitching gurus. Certainly Ray would have him looking like the next Max Scherzer in no time. Just look what he did with Francisco Liriano, Mark Melancon, Ivan Nova and AJ Burnett. But Glasnow was not a veteran looking to rejuvenate his career, he was a kid in his early 20s trying to harness elite level talent. Maybe that’s not Ray’s area of expertise because a 7.69 ERA, 2.2 WHIP and a 14.4% walk-rate over 15 big league games in 2017 led to my current disdain for Tyler.

A move to the bullpen in 2018 yielding a 4.34 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 13.1% walk-rate didn’t do much to change the minds of fantasy owners about this once revered prospect. But on August 1, 2018 something amazing happened. After being traded to the Rays, Glasnow started against the Angels and actually looked…good.

In a 3 inning “start” Glasnow struck out 5 and only issued 1 free pass. He filled up the zone throwing 34 of 48 pitches for strikes. The one blemish to his superb outing was a solo-shot by Kole Calhoun, but then again who isn’t giving up home runs to Calhoun lately?

The good times continued for Glasnow in his next start against the Orioles. He threw 42 of his 61 pitches for strikes and didn’t yield a walk in 4 innings while striking out 9. Once again he only allowed one run on a solo homer.

Then today he stretched out for 5 strong innings against the Blue Jays. I didn’t pay much attention in my high school science classes, but I do remember being told that once is an accident, twice is a coincidence and three times is a pattern. With 6 Ks against 2 BBs Glasnow is showing that he has the ability to balance a desire to dominate hitters with a need to locate within the zone. It’s a similar situation to that of Trevor Bauer and one I think we will see more often now that such an emphasis is being placed on velocity and movement as opposed to command in the early part of a player’s development. After all it’s a lot harder to teach someone to throw in the upper 90s and snap off a filthy breaking ball than it is to get someone to locate a fastball. As fantasy players this is going to require us to be much more patient with pitchers early on in their careers.

I’m not saying everyone should rush to jump back on the Glasnow bandwagon. It’s possible that this incredibly small sample size is a fluke, just like a spring in the desert might turn out to be a mirage. I’m just saying it’s nice to not hate Tyler Glasnow for a change.

Jake Blodgett

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Like most of you I am addicted to fantasy baseball. Since I spend most of my time talking about it, I figured I would write some of my thoughts down. I am a shameless promoter of Mike Trout and an even more shameless Shohei Ohtani apologist.