Even with the Padres floundering as a whole, Blake Snell has shined through and deserves to be recognized.
When the season started, the collective feeling of the fanbase around lefty Blake Snell was, “Here we go again.” Through his first nine starts, he owned a 5.40 ERA and 5.53 FIP. The Washington native was off to yet another slow start in a Padres uniform.
Then, a switch flipped.
In the 16 starts since May 25, his ERA is a microscopic 1.29, with 128 strikeouts in just 91 innings. He tied a Padres franchise record with four straight starts of double-digit strikeouts. Overall, he has five such outings this year.
No pitcher in baseball has been better than Snell since Memorial Day. He leads all of MLB with a 1.26 ERA since that holiday, with the second-place pitcher being a full run worse at 2.37. He ranks first in the NL in pitcher fWAR since then as well, at 2.6.
It’s still an embarrassment that Snell was not named an All-Star when the Midsummer Classic was held in his hometown of Seattle.
Since July, the Padres as a team are 7-2 in games Snell starts.
Now, his run of success has lasted so long that he leads Major League Baseball in ERA. The MLB leader in ERA to finish the season has won their league’s Cy Young Award three straight years. Historically, the MLB leader in ERA has a high likelihood of winning the award.
Also, it’s not just ERA. Among National League leaders, Snell is second in WAR (3.9), first in hits allowed per nine innings (6.2), second in strikeouts (176), and second in ERA+ (156).
If Snell isn’t the odds-on favorite in the National League, he should at least be on the extremely short list.
However, the work isn’t done for Snell. Six weeks remain in the regular season, with likely seven or eight more starts to navigate. He will need to keep up this torrid pace if he is to win the award. That will be especially true if the Padres continue to underachieve and miss the playoffs. Snell will need to separate himself all that much more if his team is not successful.
With one Cy Young already in the bag from the American League, he could join an elite list to win the award in both leagues. Only six pitchers have accomplished the feat, and it would be pretty elite company for San Diego’s lefty. He would join Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, and Max Scherzer. All of which are either Hall of Fame worthy if not already enshrined.
Snell has a chance to join one of the most exclusive classes in pitching. He just needs to stay on this pace.
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.