Last year, Blake Snell had a 3.54 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. Hootie hoo, that’s wonky as all get-out. For players with that terrible of a WHIP since 2000, there was only one guy under a 4 ERA (Chad Billingsley in 2006 with a 3.80 ERA) and most guys weren’t even below a 5 ERA. Snell’s walk rate 5.2 was horrific. *Insert Tyra Banks’ “We were all rooting for you” GIF* Forget it my dude, you Snell with an em, nah’mean? So, what else is up, my dudes and five girl dude readers? Yeah, forget Snell, he’s out of control. Literally. Speak on your winter break. You hit the sauna, you look sweaty? Oh, you just ran up one flight of steps? Just one step? Gotcha. So what else is new? *taps finger, scratches chin* Well, maybe we should look at Snell anyway since we’re here. I mean, we have the time and you just have anecdotes that involve fast food milkshakes and girls that you think like you that don’t. So, what can we expect from Blake Snell for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
His stuff is unreal. Not fictitious, like it doesn’t exist, but unreal like, “Damn, girl, what you working with?” unreal. Not just an unreal fastball either. Or fastball and curve. Or fastball and slider. He throws four pitches and all of them can be “Damn, girl, what you working with?” He works from 92-95 MPH with his fastball, but averages 93.5 MPH, and mostly sits 94 and 95. It be blow away, bye bye time. Here he is during the climatic Moses flood scene:
Let my pitcher go! That pitch may have been North by Northwest, but it cropdusted him at 96 MPH. Now drive a train through a tunnel to simulate my feelings on it cause it’s sexy-time. Now look at how whatever he is on this breaking pitch. He looks like he just got off the wrong floor on an elevator and needs to get back on it.
Snell after the pitch was like, “Damn, I thought my dentist was on the 5th floor. Rewind.” Why show you rather than dazzle you with words? I think to appreciate him you really need to see a 96 MPH heater and then a silly 76 MPH breaking pitch. I also see what appears to be a possibility to leave the ball up, and a kind of across-the-body, la-di-da throwing motion that produces nasty. After every windup, there’s an explosion of the pitch and then a matter-of-fact shrug and a “Guess I got him.” While the walk rate never came down to respectable levels last year in the majors, he has shown control in the minors and his walk rate was in the 4’s two of the four months he was in the majors last year. That’s really what it’s going to come down to, not much else. If he commands his pitches, he’s going to be a number one fantasy ace. If he doesn’t, he’s going to walk guys, and push a 4-plus ERA. In 2017, I don’t see him being fully there for the whole year, but we’ll see flashes and there will be more good than bad with around a 4.2-4.4 BB/9. For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 9-12/3.63/1.37/181 in 160 IP with a chance for a lot more.