Blake Ashton Snell (born December 4, 1992) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2016 and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2018.
Snell in 2018
|Tampa Bay Rays – No. 4|
|Born: December 4, 1992|
|April 23, 2016, for the Tampa Bay Rays|
|MLB statistics |
(through September 22, 2020)
|Earned run average||3.24|
|Career highlights and awards|
Snell attended Shorewood High School in Shoreline, Washington, where he played for the school's baseball team. He committed to the University of Washington. In high school, he trained at a facility owned by his father who was a former minor league baseball player. In his senior season, Snell recorded an earned run average of 1.00 with 128 strikeouts over 63 innings en route to a 9–0 win-loss record.
Draft and minor league careerEdit
The Tampa Bay Rays selected Snell in the first round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. He signed with the Rays and made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Rays, where he was 1–2 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 games (eight starts). He spent 2012 with the Princeton Rays, pitching to a 5–1 record and a 2.09 ERA in 11 starts, and 2013 with the Bowling Green Hot Rods where he compiled a 4–9 record and a 4.27 ERA in 23 starts.
Snell started 2014 back with Bowling Green and was promoted to the Charlotte Stone Crabs in May. On August 2, he pitched a rain-shortened no-hitter against the Daytona Cubs. It was the first no-hitter in Stone Crabs history. In 24 total games started between the two clubs, he was 8–8 with a 3.19 ERA. After the season, he was named the Rays Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Snell started 2015 back with the Stone Crabs and was promoted to the Montgomery Biscuits after he did not allow a run in 21 innings to start the season. He was later promoted to the Durham Bulls. In 25 games (23 starts) between the three clubs, he was 15–4 with a 1.41 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. The Rays added him to their 40-man roster after the season. Snell began the 2016 season with Durham.
Tampa Bay RaysEdit
Snell was promoted to the major leagues to make his debut on April 23, 2016, at Yankee Stadium. Snell's first inning showed jitters, as he allowed a run off of a wild pitch. However he calmed down after that, striking out the side in the second inning, and went onto retire 12 of the last 14 batters he faced. Through the 2016 season for Tampa, Snell made 19 starts, finishing with a 6–8 record, 3.54 ERA, and 98 strikeouts over 89 innings.
At the beginning of the 2017 season, Snell failed to work into the sixth inning in almost all of his first eight games, and was routinely touching 100 pitches in the fourth inning. After posting an ERA of 4.71 through eight starts in 2017, Snell was demoted to Durham on May 13. On June 28, Snell was recalled and his turnaround was evident. After July 23, Snell went 5–1 with a 3.31 ERA to finish off the 2017 season. He finished the season with 24 starts, recording 119 strikeouts over 129 1⁄3 innings with a 4.04 ERA.
2018: Cy Young AwardEdit
Snell opened the 2018 season as the number two starter, behind Chris Archer. On June 3, Snell tied an American League record by striking out the first seven batters he faced in a game against his hometown Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Snell would end the game allowing no runs in six innings and recorded 12 strikeouts. This was Snell's first career start at Safeco Field in front of many of his friends and family, an estimated 300, including the first professional start witnessed by his grandfather whom he considers a mentor.
At the time of the All-Star team announcement, Snell was 12–4 with a 2.09 ERA, the lowest of all qualified pitchers in the American League. Despite his success, Snell was not named to the original AL roster. This led to wide-scale criticism of the selection process by players, coaches, fans, and analysts. After Corey Kluber opted out of the All-Star game due to injury, Snell was named his replacement, ending the controversy and awarding him his first career All-Star appearance.
On July 23, Snell was put on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder fatigue. He was reactivated on August 4 against the Chicago White Sox. On August 21, Snell set a new MLB record with his 13th straight start allowing one earned run or fewer at home. After allowing two runs at home against the Baltimore Orioles, Snell's streak ended at 14. Snell was recognized as the American League Pitcher of the Month for August, during which he went 4–0 with a 1.08 ERA over five starts.
On September 18, Snell recorded his 20th victory on the season, becoming the first Ray to accomplish this feat since David Price in 2012. On September 23, Snell won his 21st game, setting a franchise record after pitching 62⁄3 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was again named the American League Pitcher of the Month for September, in which he went 5–0 with a 1.26 ERA and 53 strikeouts over 352⁄3 innings. Snell became the youngest pitcher to win the award in consecutive months since Johan Santana in 2004.
Snell finished his breakout season leading the majors in wins (21), adjusted ERA+ (219), and batting average against (.178), as well as leading the American League in earned run average (1.89) and wins above replacement among pitchers (7.5). Snell's 1.89 ERA was the lowest in the American League since Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 mark in 2000, and the third-lowest in the AL since the designated hitter was introduced in 1973. He allowed two or fewer runs in 27 of his 31 starts, and allowed one or zero runs in 21 starts. Against the American League's five playoff teams, he went 9–2 with a 2.00 ERA. He led all major league pitchers in left on base percentage, stranding 88.0% of base runners. For the season, he also had the lowest percentage of balls pulled against him (33.8%) among major league pitchers, and led major league pitchers in lowest contact percentage (66.6%).
On November 14, Snell won the American League Cy Young Award, topping runner-up Justin Verlander by 15 points (169–154), while receiving 17 of 30 first-place votes. Snell became the second Rays pitcher to win the award, after David Price won in 2012.
In spring training, Snell was named the opening day starter for the 2019 season. Snell opened the season to a 5–1 defeat against Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros. However, he quickly bounced back with a dominant seven innings, striking out 13 and only giving up two hits against the Colorado Rockies. On April 16, Snell was placed on the injured list after breaking a toe on his right foot while moving furniture in his bathroom and missed two starts. On July 25, it was announced that Snell would undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his left elbow. Due to multiple trips to the disabled list, Snell finished with a 6–8 record in 23 starts. He struck out 147 batters in 107 innings.
On October 8, he made his first career appearance as a reliever and closer, and earned the save against Houston Astros working 2⁄3 of an inning, which tied the American League Divisional Series at two games apiece.
Before the start of the delayed MLB season, Snell caused some controversy when he stated that he was more concerned about his pay when it comes to decisions to return to play during the pandemic than health. He stated, "I'm not playing unless I get mine ... That's just the way it is for me," later admitting that his words could be taken as selfish. Commentators stated that his comments were seen as "outrageously out-of-touch" during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Kelley, Mason (June 5, 2011). "Shorewood left-hander Blake Snell has high hopes for MLB draft". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- Lommers, Aaron (December 31, 2016). "Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell giving major league assist to his alma mater, Shorewood". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- "Blake Snell - Player Trophy Room | Perfect Game USA". www.perfectgame.org. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Kelley, Mason (June 5, 2011). "Shorewood left-hander Blake Snell has high hopes for MLB draft". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- Kelley, Mason (June 6, 2011). "Shorewood's Blake Snell drafted by Tampa Bay with 52nd pick". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- Heneghan, Kelsie (August 2, 2014). "Snell notches Stone Crabs' first no-hitter". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- Long, A. Stacy (August 2, 2014). "Stone Crabs' Snell throws no-hitter". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- Berry, Adam (September 19, 2014). "Field, Snell among Rays' Minor League award winners". Tampa Bay Rays. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- "Rays prospect Johnny Field wins team's top minor-league player award". FOX Sports. September 19, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- Stephenson, Creg (April 27, 2015). "Tampa Bay Rays' top LHP prospect Blake Snell joins Montgomery Biscuits". Alabama Local News. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
- "Blake Snell Stats, Highlights, Bio - MiLB.com Stats - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Chastain, Bill (November 20, 2015). "Rays add Blake Snell, five others to 40-man". Tampa Bay Rays. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- "Rays will call up top prospect Blake Snell". Sports Illustrated. April 22, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- "Blake Snell called up from Triple-A, will start for Rays on Wednesday | FOX Sports". FOX Sports. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
- "Blake Snell » Statistics » Pitching | FanGraphs Baseball". Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- "Despite Blake Snell's record-tying start, Rays lose again to Mariners 2-1". June 3, 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
- "Blake Snell Snub Highlights Issue With MLB All-Star Selection System". SI.com. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- "Chris Archer on Blake Snell's snub from All-Star roster: 'Something like that can't happen'". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Becker, Jake. "Rays starter Blake Snell added to All-Star roster after initial snub - NY Daily News". nydailynews.com. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
- "Rays place Blake Snell on disabled list with shoulder fatigue". July 23, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
- "Rays Journal: Pham on 10-day DL, Snell back on the mound". August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- "Steve Carney on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- "Marc Topkin on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
- "Hamels, Snell named August Pitchers of Month". September 4, 2018. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
- Humphrey, Dic (September 18, 2018). "Milestone night for Snell: 20th win, 200th K". MLB.com. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- Rose, Aaron (September 23, 2018). "Snell picks up franchise-record 21st win of year". MLB.com. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
- Kramer, Daniel (October 1, 2018). "Snell, Marquez earn Pitcher of Month honors". MLB.com. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
- "Blake Snell Stats". Retrieved September 30, 2018.
- Topkin, Marc (September 28, 2018). "Making a case for, against Rays' Blake Snell for AL Cy Young". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
- Castrovince, Anthony (November 14, 2018). "deGrom, Snell rise to top as 1st-time Cy winners". MLB.com. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
- "Major League Leaderboards » 2018 » Pitchers » Dashboard | FanGraphs Baseball". www.fangraphs.com.
- "Major League Leaderboards » 2018 » Pitchers » Plate Discipline Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". www.fangraphs.com.
- "Major League Leaderboards » 2018 » Pitchers » Batted Ball Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". www.fangraphs.com.
- "Blake Snell named opening day starter for the Rays". FantasyPros. March 6, 2019. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
- Press, Associated (April 17, 2019). "Blake Snell breaks toe in 'really dumb' bathroom decision". New York Post. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- "Here's how Snell's elbow surgery affects Rays". July 25, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
- Rays stud Blake Snell vs. Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez: Snell comes to close ALDS Game 4, retrieved October 9, 2019
- CNN, Leah Asmelash and David Close. "Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell says taking a pay cut to play baseball isn't worth the health risk". CNN.
- "Your honor, my client (Blake Snell) pleads temporary stupidity". Tampa Bay Times.
- "Tables turned: Rays' Blake Snell now pitches against Mariners, his favorite team growing up". The Seattle Times. June 15, 2016.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or Baseball-Reference (Minors), or Retrosheet
- Blake Snell on Twitter
- Blake Snell on Instagram