2016 Pitchers Review: Blake Snell
Blake Snell made his major league debut for the Rays in 2016 and pitched pretty well. The former top left-handed pitching prospect showed off an impressive four pitch arsenal. He made 19 starts overall and put up some pretty decent numbers:
Blake Snell 2016 Stats
A few things jump out to me particularly. For starters, it’s very encouraging to see him strike out nearly 10 hitters per 9 innings. His stuff is legit and seems to have translated just fine in the big leagues . On the other hand the walks per 9 are a bit concerning. Cutting those down is going to be crucial for him moving forward. He also probably experienced some bad luck as well as evidenced by his .356 BABIP.
He showed off pretty much neutral platoon splits in his first big league season. Left handed hitters slashed .253/.365/.292 while right-handed hitters put up a slash of .269/.360/.387. These numbers could be inflated by a high BABIP as well so you’d expect some regression there.
Snell’s four pitch repertoire is pretty solid. He throws a four-seem fastball, change-up, curveball and a slider. Here’s a look at how effective each pitch fared:
Clearly Snell is extremely dependent on his fastball but perhaps he should be mixing in his off-speed pitches more often (especially his change-up). He got pretty good amount of swinging strikes with all three. Of course the reason why he threw so many more fastballs was probably due to falling behind in the count so often so just making an improvement in his control in general would go a long way for him.
Here’s some of his pitch movement:
His pitches show quite a bit of movement all together. That change-up is especially filthy. It would be really ideal if he could get ahead earlier in counts and just eat hitter’s alive with those off-speed pitches.
Overall the big question with Snell moving forward is will his command improve? That’s the one thing that could hold him back from being a front end starter in the majors. If he does figure it out though, you could have something special. The 24-year old is just oozing with potential. It might be in the Rays’ best interest to sign him up to a Matt Moore like extension right now before a possible breakout season. With Drew Smyly now off the books and no more major free agent signings in sight, this could be a good time for one. Blake Snell is going to be an important part of the Rays rotation moving forward and has tremendous potential if he puts it all together.