Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays will get a glimpse into the future of the team on Saturday. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, top prospect Blake Snell will start on the mound against the rival New York Yankees.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 22, 2016
Additionally, when detailing Tampa’s pitching staff, Matt Snyder of CBS Sports didn’t feel that this will be a short-term move, as has already been the case twice this year with the Cincinnati Reds and their highly-touted prospect Robert Stephenson.
“The Rays are 7-8 and have gotten good starting pitching from Matt Moore and Drew Smyly. Jake Odorizzi was great for his first three starts but bad last time out. Chris Archer has surprisingly been bad….Otherwise Erasmo Ramirez made a spot start but has been excellent in the bullpen, so Snell has a shot to stick in the rotation moving forward, and that is surely the plan.”
Snell is ranked as the Rays top overall prospect as well as the 12th-best prospect in all of baseball.
Snell will certainly get no breaks in his MLB debut. While the Yankees aren’t a typical “Bronx Bombers” team, they are a lineup of veteran hitters. Yankee Stadium is also one of the hardest places to pitch in all of baseball.
Snell, 23, has been a bit erratic with the Triple-A Durham Bulls in the early going of the 2016 season. In three starts and 14.1 innings, he’s posted a solid 2.51 ERA and 21 strikeouts, making his strikeout’s per nine innings ratio a phenomenal 13.2.
Unfortunately, he’s also surrendered 9.4 hits and 4.4 walks per nine innings. Both of those marks are way too high and have led to a gaudy 1.535 WHIP.
Over the larger sample size of the 2015 season, Snell was dominant, posting a 1.41 ERA, 1.022 WHIP and a strong 163 strikeouts in only 134 innings.