Blake Snell's eagerly anticipated major league debut was by and large a successful one. The young southpaw posted five quality starts overall but was also lifted before the fourth inning on five occasions, a perfect example of the inconsistencies a rookie pitcher can often display, regardless of their talent level. The one major blemish that Snell carried over from the minors was an issue with control, as he posted a bloated 5.2 BB/9 and 1.62 WHIP at the big league level. He was as stingy as ever with the long ball, however, generating a minuscule 0.5 HR/9 that essentially mirrored or represented an improvement on his figure in that category at his various minor league stops. With a full offseason to prepare for the grind of a major league campaign, Snell could take a formidable leap forward in 2017 and has plenty of proven strikeout upside, having tallied a double-digit K/9 from High-A to Triple-A. Control will presumably still be an issue for the time being, but the talented southpaw still has plenty to offer in several other fantasy categories.
Snell allowed three runs on three hits and five walks while striking out four over five innings in a no-decision against Houston on Saturday. The sophomore wasn't sharp Saturday, and he's lucky the Astros didn't do more damage. Snell currently sports a 5.43 FIP and has just 15 strikeouts through 21.1 innings for the campaign, so he's fortunate to be sporting a 3.38 ERA. Command also continues to be a problem, and he'll need to improve on his 13.9 walk percentage. Snell projects to face the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre next.
Snell (0-2) allowed four runs -- just one earned -- on seven hits and two walks while striking out five batters during Monday's loss to the Red Sox. Some poor luck spoiled Snell's outing Monday. Brad Miller botched what should have been the third out of the second inning, then the Red Sox tacked on three runs before Snell struck out Xander Bogaerts to end the frame. With a 2.76 ERA and 13 strikeouts through 16.1 innings, the sophomore is off to an admirable start. He'll look to pick up his first win of the season in a tough home matchup against Houston on Saturday.
Snell allowed two unearned runs on two hits and three walks over just 4.2 innings during Monday's 8-4 loss to the Yankees. Snell has oodles of talent and sky-high upside, but it's likely that Tampa Bay will continue to be cautious with the young lefty. After all, the Rays have traditionally been patient with their prospects, and Snell has just 21 starts at the highest level. The best is still to come, but don't be surprised if Snell settles into a nice groove and provides solid fantasy results as he continues to acclimatize to the highest level. At this stage of the game, you'll probably still want to be a little selective with the opponents you start him against, though.
Snell (0-1) threw 6.2 innings in Thursday's loss to the Blue Jays, giving up five runs (four earned) on three hits to go with five walks and five strikeouts. The stat line for Snell's 2017 debut is surprising given that he managed to allow more runs than hits in the contest, although that is because one of the three hits was a grand slam by Kendrys Morales. The young left-hander struggled with control all evening, as he finished the night with just 57 of his 97 pitches going for strikes, although his fastball did stay in the mid-90s into the later part of his outing. Snell will look to put this performance behind him when he takes the mound in his next scheduled start Wednesday against the Yankees.
Snell, who endured an inconsistent spring during which he struggled with his control, is looking forward to a clean slate beginning with Thursday's start against the Blue Jays, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "I feel like I made a lot of strides," Snell said, "and now I'm ready to see if I really did." The promising southpaw notched two spring victories but also generated a 5.87 ERA, .298 BAA, 1.70 WHIP and a 17:11 K:BB over 23 innings. Snell was rather bluntly critiqued by manager Kevin Cash and pitching coach Jim Hickey after his first five appearances, with both noting that he needed to utilize his fastball more and get deeper into games. Snell rebounded by pitching at least four innings in his final three starts, although he gave up four earned runs apiece in two of those outings. However, his fastball did get back up into the mid-90s range he'd flashed in his final outing of 2016, setting up an anticipated season debut Thursday against a tough Blue Jays lineup. "Blake is still a very young pitcher," Cash said. "It's tough to really gauge what spring training is doing. We were happy to see his (velocity) pick back up where it finished off last year."
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