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Blake Snell Acknowledges The Importance Of Spring Training

Blake Snell
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Snell Acknowledges The Importance Of Spring Training

Blake Snell is not having a great time with the San Francisco Giants. However, there are clear reasons as to why that is. For starters, he was a free agent for all of Spring Training. Both him and agent Scott Boras sought out a long-term deal during the offseason. Instead, no one was interested and the reigning NL Cy Young winner had to settle for a 2-year, $62 million contract. Snell spoke to the media about his struggles and did not sugarcoat:

“Big-league spring training. You need it,” Snell said after allowing four runs on five hits in four innings during Monday’s 8-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies, according to KNBR.

“I thought I did everything I could to be ready,” Snell said. “You have to go to spring training. For me, I hope teams see that.”

Blake Snell via KNBR

In five starts for the Giants, Snell is 0-3 and has only made it through 19 innings with an ugly 10.42 ERA. He is a pitcher who historically improves as a season goes on, but things do not usually go this bad. His struggles as well as those of Jordan Montgomery have sparked a conversation about high-profile free agents. Both did well enough in 2023 to warrant a pay raise. However, they also have red flags that obviously kept teams away from committing to long-term deals. Once Spring Training stars, should you just waive the white flag and sign with a team for a one or two year deal? Do you call up Boras and yell at him for potentially pricing you out at the wrong time?

The Chicken Or The Egg?

This is a complicated discussion especially for a pitcher like Snell. On one hand, he has a legit gripe that he was not able to pitch against Major Leaguers until he signed and started with San Francisco. Being able to work your way up into game shape is important. I think all athletes can attest to that. However, this is Blake Snell we’re talking about. A guy who for every great year he has, another two meh years usually come up. Regression is natural, and you can look at his baseball card to find that out.

His 2.25 ERA was the lowest in a season since he won the Cy Young with the Rays back in 2018. In terms of stuff he’s up there with the best pitchers, no question. Believe it or not he actually owns the all-time Major League record for K/9 with 11.1 However, in terms of consistency and durability it’s not quite as clear. His 162 game average has the following: 34 starts, 175 innings, a 3.34 ERA and 216 strikeouts. He doesn’t really have a full season with those exact numbers. It’s either his two Cy Young years where he outperformed the average or all the others years where he was a combination of underwhelming or hurt.

Blake Snell is struggling, but it should not be entirely unexpected. Whether for valid reasons or not, regressing from his Cy Young form was almost guaranteed in these circumstances.

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