Wednesday, May 29, 2024
AL EastAmerican LeagueAnalysisMLBTampa Bay Rays

The Rays Just Got Another Tyler Glasnow

The Rays will do what the Rays will do. Late Sunday night, they sent former Cy Young award winner Blake Snell to the (suddenly elite) San Diego Padres for a bevy of cheap prospects and young big leaguers: Francisco Mejia, Luis Patiño, Cole Wilcox and Blake Hunt. It was a somewhat stunning move when you consider the type of team the Rays project to be. Coming off a World Series appearance, the Rays were primed to run it back with essentially the same group of players in addition to a few prospects who could make an impact.

Ben Clemens from FanGraphs wrote about the deal and did his best interpretation of the Rays general philosophy. “Analysts and teams talk in terms of surplus value these days, but Tampa Bay’s comically low salary means that they have an extra criteria to satisfy: they need to get a sizable portion of their production from players with less than five or so years of service time.” The Rays are super young, with only 3 players with above 5 years of service time on their 40-man roster. More importantly, a few of their best players were in Pre-Arb in 2020. Yandy Diaz, Randy Arozarena, Willy Adames, Nick Anderson, Pete Fairbanks, and Austin Meadows are all in that area. Brandon Lowe was signed to a pre-arbitration extension that would seem cheap even for the Rays (6 years, $24M). For comparison, the Yankees’ best player in pre arbitration is…uh…Domingo Germán? Jonathan Loaisiga? The Dodgers? Will Smith is in pre-arbitration, as is Dustin May, but the team’s most important players are making a lot more money than Smith is.

So how much worse are the Rays without Snell? Currently, their rotation projects to feature Tyler Glasnow, Michael Wacha, Ryan Yarbrough, a bullpen day, and the newly acquired Patiño. It is difficult to question the Rays front office after last year when they made their rotation functional despite an obscene amount of injuries. However, losing Blake Snell and Charlie Morton in the same off-season seems like a significant blow. They pitched 17% of the team’s innings last season despite Morton being injured for most of the year. They are gonna have to rely heavily on their bullpen again this season, and in a longer season that isn’t 60 games, I have some doubts about how good a bullpen can be when used that much. Can Patiño take on a larger role? He reminds me a lot of Tyler Glasnow, oddly enough. Glasnow is a pitcher who really only throws 2 pitches, and can be overpowering in short stints. Both Patiño and Glasnow boasted some of the worst Command+ numbers in the league last season. Patiño has a high spin fastball, but not a whole lot of movement on it due to its lack of active spin. Let’s compare some numbers on their fastball.

Fastball Spin Rate and Active Spin

Glasnow: 2409 RPM and 79.5%

Patiño: 2468 RPM and 78.5%

But wait, there’s more. Alex Chamberlain (@dolphhauldhagen) created a pitch similarity tableau page based on a number of different physical properties. The most similar pitch to Patiño’s fastball in 2020 is…TYLER GLASNOW’S FASTBALL. The Rays 1000% knew this about Patiño before acquiring him.

So his fastball has the making of an elite pitch, assuming he will be able to locate the pitch more or at the very least get it in the strike zone. Check out this high cheese (and high socks).

His slider also has the raw stuff to be an elite pitch. Using the same pitch comparison tool, the pitch rates similar to Raisel Iglesies, Dinelson Lamet, and Corbin Burnes’s slider. Talk about elite. In a small sample size of only 63 sliders, Patiño’s whiff/swing on the slider was 47.8%. That was ahead of names like Lamet, Jake Diekman, Jacob DeGrom, and German Marquez. His swinging strike rate on the pitch was much worse due to his lack of command, but it has the goods to be an elite pitch. His 5.5 inches of horizontal movement on the pitch ranked in the 91st percentile among pitchers with at least 50 sliders thrown. Look at him making Carlos Correa look silly.

The Snell trade is a big bummer for Rays fans, and rightfully so. An elite team like that shouldn’t need to trade their star player who is on a relatively cheap contract. But look at the bright side. Patiño may be the 2nd coming of Tyler Glasnow. If the Rays are going to continue to be the team who makes sure their best players are making a minimum salary, you have to trust them given their track record.

Featured image from Baseball Savant