Tampa Bay Rays: Top 8 Candidates for 2020 Rotation

Blake Snell (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Blake Snell (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Blake Snell and Gerrit Cole (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

1. Blake Snell

After finishing 2018 with a 1.89 ERA and a CY Young Award, Blake Snell inked a five-year extension with the Tampa Bay Rays. His follow up season didn’t go quite as everyone would have hoped, but the underlying numbers indicate he’s in store for a big bounceback.

Blake Snell struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness last season, producing a 4.29 ERA in 2019. Some of that likely due to bad luck as his FIP was nearly a point lower than his ERA in 2019.

Snell maintained his elite strikeout rate as he punched out 147 batters in 107 innings pitched. Those numbers were good for a career-best 12.4 strikeouts per nine. That’s 1.4 batters better than his 2018 Cy Young season.

His FIP between the past two seasons indicates a much more similar performance than his ERA differential. In 2018, he posted a 2.94 FIP and a 3.32 FIP last season.

He posted a 2.89 ERA at home in 11 starts and a 5.82 ERA on the road in 12 starts. He walked exactly 20 batters and gave up seven homers both at home and on the road last season.

According to Statcast, Snell was in the top ten in the league in Barrel % (4.7), xBA (.205), and xSLG (.327).

Snell was in the 83rd percentile in hard-hit rate and 92nd percentile in strikeout percentage.

At just 27-years-old, Snell is primed and healthy for a bounce-back season. He’s surrounded by elite pitching talent in Tampa Bay, and he should lead the charge for the 2020 Tampa Bay Rays.

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What sort of surprises or dark horses do you think we might see in the rotation in 2020?