Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell was a breakout star in the 2018 season, but his 2019 campaign was hampered by injury. What to expect this year for the Rays lefty? Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Snell’s 2020 MLB season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Blake Snell MLB Awards Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
In 2018, Snell came from somewhat off the radar to win the AL Cy Young, joining David Price as the Rays’ only winner of that award in franchise history. It was well-deserved for Snell, no question, as he led all qualified AL starters in wins (21), ERA (1.89) and hits allowed per nine innings (5.6) while striking out 221 across 180 2/3 innings pitched.
Snell’s 1.89 ERA marked the fifth lowest single-season mark for a left-hander since the mound was lowered in 1969, and it is third lowest by an AL starter since the designated hitter was implemented in 1973. It was the lowest mark by a qualified AL starter since Pedro Martinez pitched to a 1.74 ERA in 2000. Snell also led all qualified lefty starters in batting average against (.176), opponent slugging (.277), winning percentage (.808) and WHIP (0.98). Snell went 9-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his final 11 starts of the season.
Entering that season, Snell, a one-time top prospect, had been just 8-15 with a 3.83 career ERA across parts of two big league seasons. The Rays selected Snell in the first round of the 2011 draft out of high school and he made his major league debut in 2016.
Obviously, expectations were high entering last year and Snell agreed to a five-year, $50 million extension in the spring of 2019 but injuries got the best of him. He was limited to 23 starts and was 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA. He missed more than six weeks because of bone chips in his throwing elbow that required surgery last July.
“I was just so upset,” Snell said at the time. “I feel like this whole season has been that way. I struggled a little bit, then got it going and then broke my toe, then struggled a little bit, then got it going and then this injury happened. It’s just upsetting. Every time I found my groove and felt like I was about to get going, something got in the way. It’s just very frustrating.”
Even missing time, Snell’s 12.36 strikeouts per nine innings ranked 4th in the majors. A total of 17.7 pct. of his pitches were swings-and-misses, the highest mark in the majors. His average fastball velocity was 95.6 mph, 2nd in the AL.
Snell was activated late in the regular season and then made two appearances in the ALDS vs. the Houston Astros. He pitched well in a losing effort against the Astros in Game 2 of the ALDS, allowing one run on four hits over 3 1/3 innings. Snell struck out five and didn’t walk a batter — throwing 35 of his 58 pitches for strikes. The only damage done against him came on a solo shot off the bat of Alex Bregman in the fourth inning.
In Game 4, Blake Snell secured a two-out save. Snell, who had never earned a save in his career, was called upon with runners on first and third and one out in the top of the ninth inning. He whiffed Yordan Alvarez before inducing a game-ending groundout from Yuli Gurriel, throwing just eight total pitches. Alas, the Rays lost Game 5 and the season was over.
This spring, there was some concern as Snell got a cortisone shot in his left elbow after feeling pain. After taking a couple of weeks off from pitching he was able to make an appearance against the Blue Jays on March 9. He walked four of the five batters. Snell told reporters he believes he would have been ready to start the season on the active roster even if Opening Day had not been delayed, but now he clearly should be.