By the time the Pirates shipped Tyler Glasnow to the Tampa Bay Rays in July as part of the Chris Archer deal, he had devolved from a former top-25 prospect into a jittery, control-challenged mop-up reliever. His final line in Pittsburgh: 141.1 innings pitched, a 5.79 ERA and 5.8 walks per nine frames. He posted the fifth-worst ERA in the 133-year history of the franchise among pitchers with 140+ innings pitched. Instead of joining Jameson Taillon atop the Pirates rotation, Glasnow was traded away at far less than his full value and in desperate need of an overhaul.
Nearly a year later, one of the pitchers involved in that deal is forging an early Cy Young Award campaign. It's just not the one that Pirates fans, and baseball pundits at large, expected.
While Archer will lug a mid-fours ERA into his next start, Glasnow looks like a superstar. The Pirates went big-game hunting at last year's deadline, making the kind of deal that they had long been criticized for avoiding. And now, it's coming back to bite them. Although the Pittsburgh version of Glasnow chucked spotty fastballs low in the zone and quickly fell behind hitters, limiting the effectiveness of his curveball, the Tampa Bay version making the most of his elite velocity and racking up whiffs with his breaking stuff. Glasnow is currently on the shelf for a month-plus with a mild forearm strain, but his performance has been breath-taking.