When I started my research for Tyler Glasnow, I wanted to ease into it like your jeans from high school. You don’t jump in. First, you let out the waist twelve inches. So, I thought a nice way to let out the inseam on Glasnow would be looking up the Pirates’ pitching coach, Ray Searage. I Googled “Ray Searage genius” because I wanted a good laugh. Don’t judge me, while I judge Ray Searage. First, I needed to tell Google ‘genius’ had to be included, then I sorted by results from prior to 2018 vs. this year. 4,290 results vs. 5, and four of those five were people forgetting the sport and spelling their hockey team, the Pittsburgh Pengenius. Most of the results morphed like this: How great Searage was with Ivan Nova and Liriano and Edinson Volquez vs. a lot of cursing for what the hell did Searage do to pull on the reins of Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow. Of course, I don’t know how much Searage played into giving the okay for Glasnow to be traded, but trading a guy who throws 97 MPH, has a K/9 of 11 and is only 25 years old, should be against the law. Maybe Ray Searage is the pitcher whisperer, but the pitchers need to be over the age of 30, and Glasnow just had too much promise. (Being so unfair to Searage right now!) Maybe there’s only room for one genius in Pittsburgh, and it’s on the ice and it’s a dyslexic Pengenius. (By the way, whoever decided to make a word for people who struggle to spell as complicated as dyslexic is a real bastard.) So, what can we expect from Tyler Glasnow for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
First off, the 11 K/9 and 97 MPH alone have me standing with a mop between my legs screaming, giddy up! As you may have heard from literally everyone who has said anything about baseball in the last year, there’s a lot of strikeouts. Everyone is right. Yet — again with some stank — YET! Glasnow was still the 12th best strikeout pitcher. Whatever, you say, because you like to hurt my feelings. Whatever, doode?! Out of the top 18 K-rates, Glasnow easily has the worst ERA. This is important because if you’re striking out guys at that high of rate, it’s very hard for hitters to get on and make a dent. His 3.47 xFIP was nearly a run lower than his ERA (4.27). Glasnow’s big issue is his control (4.27 BB/9). By the way, Tim Kurkjian is making dolphin noises somewhere because Glasnow’s walk rate and xFIP are exactly the same. If Glasnow can keep his K/9 and lower his walk rate to only 3.5, he will be a top 20 starter. I feel like this is so similar to when I called Blake Snell a sleeper last year. No, I’m not saying Glasnow will be a Cy Young guy this year — Could he? Well… But I don’t think Glasnow gets enough innings in 2019; he’s never thrown more than 155 1/3 IP in any season, and that was between a stop in the minors and majors two years ago, so he’ll likely top out around 160 IP, if he stays healthy all year. Can he lower his walk rate though? Does a bear crap in the woods and say, “I really should build myself an outhouse.” Glasnow had a 3.1 BB/9 in 93 1/3 IP in Triple-A. He just needs to repeat that. Last year, he added a slider, and it was his most effective pitch, but he only threw it 1.1% of the time, relying heavily on the fastball and curve. Of course, adding a new pitch like a slider that he admitted he couldn’t control yet was going to wreck havoc on his command. If he throws the slide piece maybe 5-10% of the time with proper mechanics on all his pitches, cutting out inconsistency, then *whistles* hot damn. He feels like a guy who you say, “It’s not whether or not he’ll break out, but when.” I’m betting it’s this year. For 2019, I’ll give Tyler Glasnow the projections of 10-8/3.68/1.23/182 in 158 IP with a chance for much more.