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Friday, April 22, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: BLAKE SNELL SP TAMPA BAY RAYS

It is not even May and already some top prospects are making their way to the Major Leagues.  The Tampa Bay Rays got in on the action Friday when they announced they would be calling up top pitching prospect Blake Snell to make his debut Saturday versus the New York Yankees.  Universally considered one of the very best pitching prospects in baseball, Snell had posted a sparkling 2.51 ERA and struck a dominant 21 batters in just 14.1 innings at Triple-A Durham this season.  As always let's dig in a bit more on Snell and find out how high his ceiling goes. 

Originally a 2011 first round pick at number 19 overall by the Rays, the 23-year-old Snell and his lefty arm put up some huge strikeout totals while climbing the minor league ladder for the team.  How about these K/9 rates from Snell since became a pro in 2011:

2011 (Rookie Ball):  8.89
2012 (Rookie Ball):  10.08
2013 (A-Ball):  9.64
2014 (A+):  9.20
2015 (Double-A): 10.35
2015 (Triple-A):  11.57
2015 (Triple-A):  13.19. 

Needless to say those are some very impressive strikeout rates and that aspect of Snell's game already is the most valuable part of his potential fantasy baseball value.  With a fastball that hits the upper 90's and good secondary stuff, Snell can hit the ground running with a high K rate in the major leagues.  While Snell did struggle a bit in 2013 and 2014 in A-Ball, once he made the jump to Double-A and Triple-A his stuff took off as he posted a 1.57 (Double-A) and 1.83 ERA (Triple-A) in 2015.  With a very lot hit rate showing how tough it is to get a hold of something squarely coming out of Snell's arm, the one big issue he does have is a lack of control.  Even during his impressive start this season at Triple-A, Snell did put up an ugly 4.40 BB/9.  Clearly Snell has work to do there as most young power pitchers due.  The ceiling is very high here though and Snell should be picked up in all formats.  This could be just a spot start kind of situation but Snell's arm is too good to pass up given the K potential and upside. 

 

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