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 gave up four earned runs on seven hits and two walks over five innings in Monday's 5-4 Grapefruit League loss to the Pirates. He struck out three. Snell was "a little better" with his control Monday in the words of manager Kevin Cash, but still gave up a pair of home runs and issued another two free passes. The southpaw fired 76 pitches overall Monday, 46 of which found the strike zone. Snell is scheduled for one more extended spring outing, which is slated for Sunday against the Yankees.
Snell gave up an earned run on one hit and five walks over 2.2 innings in Tuesday's 9-6 Grapefruit League win over the Orioles. He recorded a strikeout. Snell's command issues were more prevalent than ever, with the young lefty not coming close to the five innings he was scheduled to pitch.The 24-year-old experienced the same breakdown in mechanics that bedeviled him last Thursday versus the Pirates, namely, his left shoulder flying open during his delivery. Snell threw a whopping 60 pitches overall during his time on the mound and is running out of time to get deeper into a game before the regular season. "This next outing is an important one for him," Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey said. "He needs to get deep in the ballgame, at least into the fifth inning, because he hasn't been close yet. We need to get over that hurdle real quick here."
Snell gave up two earned runs on five hits and a walk over two innings in Thursday's 10-8 Grapefruit League loss to the Pirates. He struck out three. After a smooth first inning, Snell ran into trouble in the second, surrendering a run-scoring single and an RBI double. The 24-year-old southpaw needed 49 pitches to get through his two frames, struggling with his command throughout. It was notably the second straight appearance with just under 50 pitches for the lefty, although the previous instance, which came last Saturday against the Orioles, was over a span of 2.2 innings and in relief. Snell was well aware of what the issues were Thursday and already looking ahead to an opportunity for redemption in his next start. "Lack of command," Snell said when asked about his performance. "I liked my changeup a lot today, so I kept throwing it. But I just need to command the zone better. I feel like I know what I need to do, and I'm looking forward to the next one."
Snell struck out two and gave up one earned run on one hit over 2.2 innings in Saturday's 1-0 Grapefruit League loss to the Orioles. Snell was much sharper in what was his second time on the mound this spring, allowing the only run of the game on a groundout by Logan Schafer in the seventh. The 24-year-old lefty fired just under 50 pitches, getting a solid workload in and impressing manager Kevin Cash in the process. "Really liked the way Blake threw,'' Cash said. "He had everything getting over the plate, that was great to see for him.''
Snell, who gave up an earned run on four hits over two innings and also recorded a strikeout in Monday's 7-2 Grapefruit League win over the Phillies, made an in-game adjustment with his delivery, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The promising southpaw missed high with his fastball early on, a problem that Snell has been diligently addressing in his bullpen work this spring. The spotty command helped lead to a sticky situation in the first, which culminated in an RBI single by Maikel Franco after Snell had already allowed Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders to get on. However, Snell recognized his left shoulder was flying open during his delivery and made the necessary correction, helping him get through his second and final frame in somewhat smoother fashion. Although the 24-year-old has an impressive four-pitch arsenal, manager Kevin Cash continues to emphasize improved fastball command to Snell, whose solid 3.54 ERA in 2016 could be even better with a reduction of the 1.62 WHIP he also generated during his rookie campaign.