Tampa Bay right-hander Tyler Glasnow has been a guy I’ve fawned over for years in fantasy baseball. I envisioned him and Jameson Taillon to headline the Pittsburgh rotation for years to come. Well, they are now adversaries in the American League East, instead of leading the Pirates to division titles, but I digress. He posted a 5-1 record across 11 starts, spanning 57.1 innings pitched, with a dominant 14.28 K/9. His walk rate was up a little bit, but repeatability issues in his mechanics will likely prevent him from ever being a pinpoint tactician on the mound. Aside from durability and anticipated workload in 2021, the big issue with Glasnow will be home runs, and the returns from 2020 are not promising.

In 2019, the dingers were under control, and he posted a 1.78 ERA (2.26 FIP), thanks to a 0.59 HR/9. However, his ERA was 4.08 (3.66 FIP) when his HR/9 ballooned to 1.73 last year. So, that brings us to the question, what the heck happened? Well, his primary pitch is getting lofted, and hit hard.

When your primary pitch is getting elevated frequently, at some point, it’s going to come back and bite you where the sun doesn’t shine. All of this also led to the fact that 2020 was not a year for his infielders to be involved much, considering that he induced a ground ball under 40 percent of the time.

The HR/FB increased drastically compared to 2019, and when you look at prior years, an increase was expected, but not to this extent. However, you can rationalize it when you mix in the fact that his fastball was hit harder than ever before.

While one can argue that his fastball didn’t help him in 2020, outside of his changeup getting abused (when it was actually hit), his secondary offerings were fabulous. His curveball induced a .120 batting average, and he was actually unlucky with that, considering the xBA was .102! His fastball has hung steady in terms of whiffs, but his secondary offerings are becoming more lethal by the year.

One thing that’s very interesting about Glasnow is that his stuff is so good that he can get away with some mistakes. However, with his pitches, notably his fastball and changeup, he loves to live dangerously. Take a look at his texture maps from 2018, 2019 and 2020 below, courtesy of Baseball Savant.





The fastballs are indicated by the X’s. The curveballs are indicated by the squiggly lines. The change up is indicated by the diagonal lines. It doesn’t look like all that much, but there are definitely some issues. First of all, his fastball lives in the middle of the dish. Fortunately, he can elevate it and there’s enough juice behind it to be effective, but a texture map with a fastball like this explains why home runs are a problem for him. Furthermore, it unfortunately explains that we need to treat 2019 more as an outlier, and not really expect Glasnow to post a HR/9 mark that low again. His curveball does a fairly good job with staying in the lower-third of the zone and living just outside of it. His changeup, on the other hand, is a bit iffy.

The reason we harp so much on Glasnow’s home run issues is because you could make the case that the American League has some of the worst situations for HR-prone pitchers. Take a look at the stadiums in the AL East and where they ranked in park factors for 2020.

Rogers Centre

1st (2019)

Yankee Stadium


Fenway Park


Oriole Park at Camden Yards


Tropicana Field



Courtesy of ESPN Park Factors

Toronto will have a new stadium this year, but they have revamped their lineup, adding George Springer and Marcus Semien on top of all of their big-league legacies. The Yankees boast a power-packed lineup in a launching pad of a stadium. Boston has potential and a few stars in their lineup. While Baltimore is below average, they have a very hitter-friendly park.

There are some concerns with the home runs, but Glasnow is a strikeout machine and an excellent SP2 target. He’s in the majority of pitchers this year that will likely have their innings monitored, considering that including the postseason, he threw just 67.2 innings in 2019 and 86 innings last year. Regardless, Tampa Bay’s quick-trigger tendencies will be annoying and Glasnow is as elite as they come on a per inning basis.

Per NFBC data, he’s the 17th starting pitcher off the board and will cost you a fourth round pick. Depending on who you grab as your SP1, you may need someone more sturdy (a la Lance Lynn ), but if you can take the risk, Glasnow has flashed Cy Young potential in spurts throughout his career.


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