Breakout or Bust: Is There Any Chance Tyler Glasnow Finally Puts It Together?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve long heard the hype about the Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow, but he hasn’t been able to take that talent and have it translate to success in the Majors.  Everyone always points to his control as the reason for his struggles, and while that’s part of the issue it takes more to bring in a 7.69 ERA over 62.0 IP in the Majors:

  • 13 K/9
  • 6.39 BB/9
  • 1.89 HR/9
  • .358 BABIP
  • 7% strand rate

Obviously part of the issue was luck based, especially considering his 20.6% line drive rate.  All he’d have to do is maintain that rate and we should see improved numbers in both his BABIP and strand rate.  The other issues, though?

 

Strikeouts
His history tells one story, including a 13.50 K/9 at Triple-A last season.  However his 8.2% SwStr% and 25.0% O-Swing% support the rather pedestrian mark that he posted in ’17.  Those numbers would make us question his actual stuff, though there was a clear change in pitch selection from his first taste in the Majors to last season:

Year
Fourseam
Sinker
Curveball
Changeup
201662.30%0.00%35.17%2.53%
201739.37%25.29%22.82%12.44%

It’s interesting that he started using his sinker so much, considering opponents hit .422 against the pitch and got him for 4 HR.  It requires a further adjustment, unless he’s going to start generating better results with the pitch.

 

Control
This is the obvious issue, and it’s been a problem regardless of the level he’s pitched at (4.2 BB/9 over his minor league career).  Maybe he’s not quite as bad as last year’s numbers, but he’s not good and it’s going to continue limiting his potential appeal.

 

Home Runs
So he started throwing his sinker and instead was tattooed by home runs?  It doesn’t make sense, and that’s something we would expect him to be able to improve upon moving forward.  Just how much depends on the adjustments/improvements that he makes.  Is he going to shelve the sinker again?  That doesn’t seem like it would necessarily lead to fewer home runs.  Is he simply going to become more efficient/effective with the pitch?  That would be much better, but it’s hardly a given.

 

Conclusion
It’s hard to get excited at this point, considering the consistent struggles in the Majors.  Can he solve all of the issues?  The luck is one thing, but:

Can he improve his strikeout rate…
And can he cut down on his walks…
And can he figure out his sinker/home run issue…

That’s a lot of issues, with no obvious answers.  There’s enough upside to at least consider the late round flier, but outside of a late round flier the price will outweigh the risk.  There are too many variables to invest too highly in.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Reference

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections:

Player
Date Published
Cano, Robinson10/09/17
Castillo, Luis10/03/17
Gerrit Cole10/30/17
Didi Gregorius11/20/17
Wil Myers10/24/17
Quintana, Jose11/13/17
Sanchez, Aaron12/05/17
Schoop, Jonathan11/27/17
Stroman, Marcus10/16/17
Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17

2 comments

  1. Alex says:

    It’s stunning, sometimes, when a guy who has been mentioned for so long as one of the next great arms has not put it together… yet. Prospecting is a tough business.

  2. Mitch says:

    Speaking of former prospects. What’s your outlook on Bradley Zimmer for 2018? Would he be considered a sleeper?

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