Tampa Bay Rays: Blake Snell
The Tampa Bay Rays have not come right out and admitted that they are prepping for a full-scale rebuild, but the writing is on the wall. Evan Longoria has been moved to the Giants and Jake Odorizzi was dealt to the Twins. Chris Archer was also heavily shopped, but the Rays do not have to rush to trade him while he is on a team-friendly contract.
For the Rays, a path back to contention in the AL East hinges on their ability to develop elite pitching prospects. Unfortunately, Brent Honeywell and Jose De Leon are already down for the year with Tommy John. Blake Snell and Jacob Faria will have to step up behind Archer as the Rays experiment with a four-man rotation to start the year.
Snell has been heavily hyped since 2015 when he went 15-4 with a 1.41 ERA in nearly 150 innings in the minor leagues. The results at the MLB level have not been nearly as strong, as the young left-hander battles command issues.
The former first-round pick has started 43 games for the Rays over the past two seasons and is 11-15 with a 3.83 ERA. Snell has walked 4.5 per nine against 8.9 strikeouts per nine. Tampa Bay has managed Snell’s innings well, and he has been out after five innings most starts. It’s time for the future ace to be given a full workload in 2018.