In case you’ve lived under a rock during this 2018 Rays season, let us catch you up on what’s become arguably the best story of the year.
Blake Snell, 25, just won his 12th game of the season last night in New York. The win continues to grow his career-high, which was previously just six wins in his rookie season of 2016. Against the Mets on Saturday afternoon, he pitched 7.1 scoreless innings to drop his ERA to a AL-best 2.09 passing Luis Severino of the Yankees. His K/9 is already a career high (10.24) and growing. Oh, and he also got on base twice yesterday at the plate (BB, HBP).
So where is this all leading to? What else could we be seeing in the future for this young, spunky lefty?
How bout a Cy Young?
Might as well start the hashtag now, right? Remember about six years back when another lefty by the name of David Price won the first and only Cy Young award in Rays history? Let’s compare the two, shall we?
Price won a MLB-best 20 games that year. Snell has roughly 12-14 more starts in him to reach that mark. Price’s ERA was 2.56. Snell is on pace to shatter that barring a few disastrous starts. Price pitched 211 innings, a mark Snell might not hit this year unless a complete game or two is thrown into the mix. Two such games were thrown by Price in 2012. Snell’s K/9 is nearly two full points higher than Price’s back in 2012. Hitters are batting a paltry .183 off Snell this season and hit a meager .226 of Price his Cy Young year.
Ok, so that’s a lot of numbers and hogwash, right? There’s still half a season to play and likely a handful of starts still against the Red Sox and Yankees. So can Snell not only keep up his incredible season and win that illustrious award in just his third year in MLB?
Here’s how he fares against the rest of the AL so far.
W – 12 (T-2nd)
ERA – 2.09 (1st)
IP – 116 (9th)
SO – 132 (8th)
Avg – .183 (T-3rd)
WHIP – 1.03 (8th)
There’s still a lot of work to be done. Chances are Snell will have a hiccup or two the rest of the way. For now, the baseball world, not just the Rays, can watch this kid pitch and enjoy what they’re watching. He’s likely a lock to make his first All Star roster, joining fellow teammate Wilson Ramos. Fitting considering Ramos has had a front-row seat to most of Snell’s starts and is a big reason why he has grown so much in just a short amount of time.
Could a pay day be coming – in Tampa?
When you have a chance to lock in a pitcher with “ace” written all over him in his prime years – you do it. The Rays did it with Chris Archer back in 2014 and have him locked through the 2020 season. What’s to say Snell isn’t the next top arm to get an extension to stay in Tampa another five years? They can take their time, of course. He isn’t set to be a free agent until 2023 and won’t have to worry about arbitration until 2020. Maybe they give him another year to prove his growth? When Archer got his extension he wasn’t putting up near the numbers of this year’s Snell.
The smart move would be to give Snell what he’s due and an extension would be just that.
For now, let’s just sit back and continue to enjoy what this 25-year old Seattle boy is doing this year. The growth is impressive. The numbers are as flashy as anyone in the game today. The fist pumps and passion as he walks off the mound are fun to watch, too.
“The Legend of Snellzilla” grows.
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