Best Ace in the Sunshine State? MO2 sizes up a pair of aces — Sandy and Glasnow
The top of the rotation is in good hands for the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays. Sandy Alcantara and Tyler Glasnow are the aces of their respective staffs, and each impressed again on Monday night. What makes them special? MO2 takes a look.
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
Pick one or the other, either way, you can’t go wrong.
Miami Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara and Tampa Bay Rays’ Tyler Glasnow have cemented their status as aces. They’re among the best right-handers in the sport, and they both happen to reside in the Sunshine State.
Man On Second focuses on “All Things Florida baseball,” and sizing up the state’s two MLB aces is right in our wheelhouse.
Making the task easier is they both pitched on Monday night. TV remote in hand, MO2 clicked back-and-forth, keeping tabs on both.
In the Marlins’ 5-3 win in 10 innings at the Braves, Alcantara stepped up again, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs for the Marlins on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts in a no-decision.
Glasnow, meanwhile, was as good as he’s ever been in the Rays’ 1-0 shutout of the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field. The 27-year-old set a personal high with 14 strikeouts, while allowing two hits and a walk in 7 2/3 innings.
The 14 strikeouts are one away from the franchise single-game mark, shared by Chris Archer and James Shields.
This season, only Glasnow and Mets’ right-hander Jacob deGrom (against the Marlins) have fanned as many as 14.
Alcantara and Glasnow are incredibly hard-throwers, and are seemingly getting better.
Glasnow, right now, has been simply dominant. He’s made three starts, and twice the Rays won, 1-0. Glasnow collected his first win on Monday, and he had a no-decision in Tampa Bay’s other 1-0 victory, which took place on Opening Day at Miami.
Glasnow and Alcantara were matched on Opening Day at loanDepot park, and neither gave up a run.
That day, Glasnow threw six innings, giving up one hit with six strikeouts. Alcantara also got in six innings, yielding two hits, two walks and seven strikeouts.
They’ve each made three starts. For the season, Glasnow has been statistically better — 19 2/3 IP, 0.46 ERA, 0.66 FIP, 42.6 percent strikeout rate, 4.4 walk percentage, 50 percent groundball rate, and 1.3 fWAR.
Alcantara in 18 1/3 innings, has a 2.45 ERA, 2.33 FIP, 28 percent strikeout rate, 9.3 walk rate, 47.7 groundball percentage, .06 fWAR.
It will be fun to see how they compare side-by-side as the season progresses.
Glasnow, who broke in with the Pirates in 2016, is two years older than Alcantara. The Miami ace, who made his MLB debut with the Cardinals in 2017, is 25.
Each ace was acquired in a lopsided high-profile trade.
The Rays snared a huge haul from the Pirates at the Trade Deadline in 2018, landing Glasnow, outfielder Austin Meadows and right-hander Shane Baz for right-hander Chris Archer. The deal has been a steal for Tampa Bay. Archer once again is with Tampa Bay.
The Marlins also came up big in their deal to acquire Alcantara, who was a centerpiece in the trade with the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Along with their current ace, Miami also landed right-hander Zac Gallen, outfielder Magneuris Sierra and lefty Daniel Castano. The Marlins ended up trading Gallen to the D-backs for Jazz Chisholm Jr., their starting second baseman.
Alcantara, Sierra, Chisholm and Castano all are on the Marlins’ active roster.
Glasnow and Alcantara have each been tracking up the more they’ve been in the league.
The numbers tell one side of the story for these two, and the evaluation process reveals another.
MO2 has spoken to several MLB evaluators about the two aces, and here’s some of their thoughts.
Regarding Alcantara, the insiders say he is not afraid to pitch to contact, which is one reason why he doesn’t have the highest strikeout rate, although currently he has a Ks/9 of 10.31.
The industry credits manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. for the development of Alcantara, who has shown a toughness the Cardinals’ organization didn’t see. The general feeling about Alcantara with the Cardinals was that he was underachieving. Also, he struggled to work both sides of the plate.
That’s changed now in Miami, where he has developed a bulldog mentality on the mound. Thus far this year, he’s constantly been on the attack.
Glasnow, too, has proven some skeptics wrong. He was used in relief early in his career with the Pirates. Now, he’s a force as a starter. On the mound, there’s no messing around. His fastball not only has high velocity, it also has late life and movement.
A few years back, when Glasnow was a prospect competing in the Arizona Fall League, he was considered good. Now, he’s great, with a slider and curveball — two plus secondary pitches — to go with his high velocity.
Let’s talk velocity for a moment.
We noted these guys throw hard. Here’s how hard.
Per Statcast, Alcantara on Monday night against the Braves threw 10 pitches tracked at 99 mph or above. That’s actual 99, not rounded up. He entered the season with four in his first two starts.
So for the season, Alcantara has 14 pitches at 90-plus mph. He has yet to touch 100 mph. But that could be soon. He had a 99.9 mph fastball to Ozzie Albies on Monday.
Glasnow also has 14 pitches at 99 mph this season, and twice he’s touched 100 — with a high of 100.7 mph to Boston’s J.D. Martinez on April 6.
On Opening Day, Glasnow touched 100.6 mph against Miami’s Adam Duvall.
As you see, both pitchers are off to a hot start. Both the Marlins are Rays are fortunate to have a true ace at the top of their rotations.