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Tyler Glasnow named Pitcher of the Month for April 2019

The tall Rays righty receives top marks from MLB

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Glasnow had one hell of a month. Sporting a 1.75 ERA across six starts, his 5-0 win-loss record makes him the second Rays pitcher ever to receive that many credited wins before the month of May, after Matt Moore in his All-Star 2013 season.

Glasnow has tallied 38 strikeouts against seven walks over 36.0 innings pitched. He’s permitted just 27 hits and three home runs. But more important than his results, he’s harnessed his stuff to make him a formidable threat in the American League.

To celebrate this honor, here’s a collection of writing on Tyler Glasnow and his stuff, some from us and some from around the baseball world:

DRaysBay: Tyler Glasnow’s 97 mph cutting fastball is unusual and absurd - Brian Menendez

97 MPH cut action is not normal!

DRaysBay: Why Tyler Glasnow’s four-seam fastball acts like a cutter - Daniel Russell

“I usually always have a cut on it, sometimes more so than others,” Glasnow told me earlier this month when the Rays were in Toronto. “I have a weird — I don’t know what it is. It’s on the four-seam, but my fingers have always been curved, I hold it wide.”

Glasnow holds everything wide, because he doesn’t just hold the baseball, his fingers wrap around the baseball. This is the consequence of the 6’7” Glasnow having massive hands: It’s just what the fastball does, without any consciously added finger or thumb pressure, or deviation from the standard grip. He knows when it’s going to cut more or less.

“If I really want it to, I can kind of just rip it a little harder, and it usually just cuts more.”

FanGraphs: Tyler Glasnow on Embracing (and Controlling) the Cut - David Laurila

“I’m a power pitcher. My emphasis is on velo, spin rate, spin efficiency, carry — just efficiency of the fastball in general.”

FiveThirtyEight: How The Rays Are Surprising Baseball Again - Travis Sawchik

With the Pirates last season, Glasnow, a once highly touted prospect, found himself in a long-relief role. He had lost his command and his confidence. What the Rays acquired at the trade deadline was a struggling pitcher, but one with intriguing underlying skills: a sharp breaking ball and a fastball that ranked at the top of the “perceived velocity” leaderboard since his debut. Glasnow’s average fastball of 96.7 mph looks like it’s going 99.3 mph because he releases the ball, on average, 7.6 feet in front of the pitching rubber. (He ranks first in the majors in perceived velocity this season.)

The data-heavy Rays began with a simple message to Glasnow: Trust that your fastball will still work in the strike zone.

MLB.com: Glasnow pleased with successful start for Rays - Juan Toribio

“I was very obsessed with the feeling of being perfect and trying to find like the perfect mechanics to where I never feel bad, and I think I just realized that that’s not real,” Glasnow said. “From the first game, it was something that I changed that I had never really done before. Just like no matter what I feel, just be athletic.”

Glasnow says the change began when he got traded and he began to have conversations with Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, who also credited his 2018 season to changing his mentality and pitching with more confidence.

“He just had to find what fuels him, what makes him pitch, why he pitches and how he gets in that state of mind,” Snell said. “Once you get there, your competitiveness and your understanding of everything just gets so much better.”

Part of the change of mentality has resulted in Glasnow showing more emotion on the mound, which is something he lost in his time with the Pirates. Glasnow, who is generally a laid-back person, has learned to come to the ballpark with more of a controlled aggression on his start days.

“For me, it’s really hard to get angry. I’m not a confrontational person at all,” Glasnow said. “But my game day, like the day before, I just have to convince myself I’m [mean]. It’s not like being mean to people. It’s like, ‘OK this is my day, this is my time to prepare,’ and I try to kind of feed off things that just make me angry.

“I think it’s become more of a ‘me against you’ mentality. Like you’re trying to take my success and I’m trying to take yours. I want to come out on top, so I think that’s definitely the biggest thing that has helped me.”

The Ringer: The Rays’ Latest Reclamation Project Has Been the Shock of the American League - Michael Baumann

“The day I pitch, from the second I wake up, I have to convince myself I’m an asshole,” he says. “So it’s definitely a switch in mind-set. I think, if I’m in that angry mind-set and I can somehow convince myself that the hitter is trying to hurt me, I can throw a lot better.”

Tampa Bay Times: Yet another win for Tyler Glasnow, as he’s named AL Pitcher of the Month - Marc Topkin

Glasnow attributes his success primarily to a change in mentality, a switch to a more physical, aggressive approach and a marked increase in confidence allowing him to trust that his stuff is good enough.

”I’m happy for him,’’ rotation mate Charlie Morton said. “It’s nice to see him get some recognition and to have a really good month and be able to feel really good about himself.’’

Glasnow is the third straight Rays pitcher to win the award, voted by writers and broadcasters covering league teams. Blake Snell was the August and September choice.

FanGraphs: Tyler Glasnow, Aflame - Ben Clemens

What’s most remarkable to me about Tyler Glasnow’s success this year is how normal it feels. He has a huge fastball, and he pounds the zone with it. His breaking ball works naturally off of his fastball, and he can throw it for a strike. We haven’t talked about his changeup, but it’s a 93 mph changeup with seven inches of horizontal separation from his fastball — sheesh. If you wanted to draw up a three-pitch right-hander in the lab, you’d basically come up with Tyler Glasnow.

DRaysBay: Checking in on Tyler Glasnow’s changeup - Daniel Russell

“It’s coming along,” Glasnow laughed, comfortable with the oddities of his towering size and massive hands in comparison to his peers.

Glasnow has been flashing a change here and there in 2019 (something like nine, with more than 400 pitches thrown as of publishing), but we should note that, without context, one might not recognize them as changeups in the data at all.

With around five inches of rise and armside run, Glasnow’s 92 mph changeup would be a generic two-seem fastball for most pitchers — such is the consequence of throwing 98 mph on the regular.

MLB.com: Glasnow could give Rays 3 aces in their hand - Matt Kelly

Imagine a pitcher the size of an NBA big man, all arms and legs, who could approach 100 mph and mix in a dastardly breaker to boot. That description fit Randy Johnson, and it also applies to Rays righty Tyler Glasnow. [...]

Glasnow, who was just named the American League’s Pitcher of the Month after a 5-0 start with a league-best 1.75 ERA, looks like he could be Tampa Bay’s third ace beside reigning Cy Young winner Blake Snell and right-hander Charlie Morton. Johnson didn’t truly become the Big Unit until he improved his mechanics in his age-29 season. Glasnow, who’s had to figure out the same puzzle in aligning his 6-foot-8 frame, is still only 25.

Tyler Glasnow takes the mound tonight in Baltimore. Here’s to another great month.