Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees: Who Has the Best No. 3 Starter?

Masahiro Tanaka (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Masahiro Tanaka (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Glasnow (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Rays – Tyler Glasnow

2019 Stats

1.78 ERA // 0.89 WHIP // 60.2 IP // 76 Ks // 2.1 BB9 // 11.3 K9

Last season, Tyler Glasnow only pitched in 60.2 innings and was still worth nearly one entire Win Above Replacement over Tanaka.

rWAR 2019

  • Tyler Glasnow (60.2 IP): 2.6
  • Masahiro Tanaka (182.0 IP): 1.7

His four-seamer can reach 100-mph, which makes his 90-mph changeup look ridiculously hard to hit coming out of his hand. Between 2016-2018 Glasnow struggled with his command, averaging 5.0 walks per nine.

Glasnow was traded from the Pirates midway through 2018. When he first arrived in St. Pete he brought a hefty 5.5 walks per nine with him. The Ray’s worked their magic and he posted a 3.1 the rest of the way in 2018 with Tampa Bay.

Last season he found even better control, reducing his walks per nine all the way down to 2.1. On top of getting his walks under control, Glasnow’s strikeouts per nine reached an all-time high of 11.3 per nine frames.

All of the arrows are pointing up for the young righty. Despite being known as a power pitcher with high strikeout totals, Glasnow still induced a higher groundball rate than Tanaka’s last season.

In the previous slide, we discussed how Tanaka only had one pitch rated as “above average.” All three of Glasnow’s pitches were rated “above average.”

2020 Outlook

His 2.3 WAR over 60.2 innings averages out to a 7.6 WAR over 200 innings. That would have been good for number one in the league, 0.2 points better than Yankees’ ace, Gerrit Cole.

Glasnow is a phenom who looks like he has figured out how to harness his raw potential. We discussed how the  Yankees aren’t asking Tanaka to be an ace. They’d be happy with a 3.50 ERA and eating 180 innings. The Yankees just need him to be good as their third starter.

Glasnow is bringing Cy Young potential to the number three spot in Tampa Bay.

Steamer Projections

3.3 fWAR // 3.70 ERA // 1.23 WHIP // 163.0 IP // 202 Ks // 3.6 BB9 // 11.17 K9

Steamer is baking his previous struggles with command into these numbers. That’s fair, past performance is a huge factor in the Steamer Projections. I think Rays’ fans are expecting a lot more than Steamer does out of the big righty this year.

Even with past struggles baked in, Steamer projects Glasnow as a 3.3 WAR and Tanaka as only a 2.5 WAR.

Clear Winner: Tyler Glasnow

An easy way to resolve this is to ask if Tanaka was on the Rays, where would he fit in the rotation? Behind Glasnow.

Next. 2015 Rays' Top 10 Prospects: Where Are They Now?. dark

*Stats and projections were pulled from Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs.