On Friday afternoon, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Blake Snell was on his way to the show. The 23-year-old southpaw will make his debut on Saturday against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium. This is what Jarrod.Pilgrim had to say about Snell in our top-ten Rays prospects list:
One of the biggest movers in the 2015 season, if not the biggest, Blake Snell has caught the attention of the fantasy world. Named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the year, Snell dominated across three different levels in 2015 (A+/AA/AAA). Snell had an unprecedented 49 IP scoreless streak during the first part of the season. In all, Snell struck out 163 over 134 IP with a spectacular 1.41 ERA. While Snell probably doesn't have the stuff to become a true front of rotation ace, he is still a tier 1 prospect. Snell projects as a top of the line #2 starter and should make fantasy owners happy for years to come. This was an easy choice for us as Snell is by far the best prospect in the Rays organization. He holds value as a starting pitcher in any league format as he will most likely debut in 2016.
Snell is a consensus top-25 prospect, checking in at 12th on Baseball America's list, 13th on John Sickels', 14th on Keith Law's, 20th on ours, and 21st on Baseball Prospectus'. He features three above-average to plus pitches in his low to mid 90s fastball, change-up, and a big breaking ball, and his command and control have improved every season. Snell repeats his delivery well, and does a good job of keeping the ball in the zone, which portends strong groundball rates. He reminds me quite a bit of fellow Rays' lefty Matt Moore (though, Ray had a bit more velocity when he was still a prospect). If Snell can continue to fine-tune his command, he has legitimate top of the rotation potential.
This call-up stems from the Rays busy schedule, and the use of would-be starter Erasmo Ramirez out of the bullpen on Thursday. It will be only the second start of the young season to go to a pitcher other than Odorizzi, Smyly, Archer, or the aforementioned Moore. That being said, I suspect that Snell will stay in the Majors for as long as his performance dictates. Alex Cobb is not likely to return from TJS until late June or early July, and the schedule was bound to prevent the Rays to stick to a four-man rotation as the season progressed. Snell is first in line to be the beneficiary of these factors.
As a fantasy commodity, Snell is high risk, high reward. He has the stuff to rack up strikeouts and limit contact, but he also walked 3.6 batters per nine last year. Through three starts this season, Snell has issued 7 BB in 14.1 IP. As has been the case with Moore, he could torpedo your WHIP (or any other category that includes BB) when he isn't on his game; and, for the time being, it is doubtful that he could be a true asset in any such category. Pitching in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the game for half of his starts helps, though, and I would love to have him on my squad.