Paired with Jose De Leon, the hope is that Blake Snell can give the Tampa Bay Rays a stellar one-two punch atop the starting rotation into the next decade.
A consensus top 25 prospect heading into last season, Snell was the type of arm that the the Rays were generating during their run of success. He pitched well in Durham last season, posting a 3-5 record to go along with a respectable 3.29 ERA and a 1.333 WHiP. In his 63 innings at AAA, Snell issued 28 walks, but also struck out 90 batters, showing that he was just about ready for the Majors.
With the Rays, Snell continued to show that potential. He ended the 2016 season with a 6-8 record, to go along with a 3.54 ERA, albeit with a high 1.618 WHiP. The major cause of that high baserunner count came from Snell’s command issues, as he 51 batters in 89 innings. However, he also struck out 98 batters, showing that swing and miss stuff from the minors.
As with De Leon, the same caveats apply when it comes to giving Snell a long term extension. As command has long been a problem with Snell, and may be the one thing to keep him from developing into a top of the rotation arm, he would need to show improvement there before the Rays could consider such a move. However, there is no questioning the talent and potential that Snell possesses.
Blake Snell is expected to be a key piece for the Rays rotation for years to come. If they can lock he and De Leon into a long term contract, that could help as they look to contend once more.