The Tampa Bay fucking Rays. Who would’ve thought that Major League Baseball’s first 20 game winner comes from a team that only has two true starting pitchers in it’s rotation. You really can’t even say “rotation” because of the strategy the Rays have used this year. If you are somehow not in touch with what I’m talking about, the Rays have used a reliever as the “opener” as they call it, to throw 1-2 innings to start the game. They then use a real starter on any other team to complete the next necessary innings. Anyways, Lets’ talk about that 20 game winner.
Blake Snell. The man who has shown enough to the Rays to keep him starting games. How lucky. What a season it has been for this man. Tuesday night, Snell became the first MLB pitcher to win 20 games this season. On this night, Snell held the Rangers to a lone single hit in five scoreless innings earning his 20th win on the year. Through his last eight starts, he has eight wins while allowing only seven runs during that span. Although Snell has only threw a total of 169 innings, he has collected 200 strikeouts and now has lowered his ERA to 1.97 while his WHIP sits at .97. Even pitching in baseball toughest division, Snell has more than held his own. Pitching against baseball’s best team in the Boston Red Sox, Snell has started four games against them this year. In those four games, he has thrown 25 innings, struck out 27, has won three of the four games, has an ERA of 1.08 and a WHIP of .80. Pretty decent for a man having the unlucky draw of having to pitch against them four times.
It wasn’t too long ago that SBNations John Sickels ranked Blake Snell the 12th overall prospect… in their own system. Disrespect. Let’s see what his scouting report from 2015 consisted of:
12) Blake Snell, LHP, Grade B-: Age 22, posted 3.19 ERA with 119/56 K/BB in 116 innings in A-ball. Live arm with low-90s fastball, shows good potential with both slider and change-up, biggest issue remains spotty command. Upside: number three starter with middle relief or LOOGYdom as backup options.
So his upside was a three starter, Okay. To his credit, Snell did look like a number three starter last season going 5-7 with an ERA of 4.04 and a WHIP of 1.33. But no credit to him for being pessimistic towards a Tampa Bay Ray great. Especially because his “spotty” command has resulted in only 58 walks through 169 innings. Not perfect, but with a 200/58 strikeout to walk ratio, it could be a lot worse.
The last and only other Rays pitcher to win 20 games in a season was former number one overall pick David Price, as he did it during his Cy Young season in 2012. Hopefully with the numbers Snell has put up here in the 2018 season, that Cy Young award can come back to Tampa Bay, because he definitely deserves it.