Giants SP Blake Snell Addresses Minor League Question Amid Struggles

Blake Snell

Getty Blake Snell pitching in an April 8 game.

The San Francisco Giants have not gotten what they paid for from Blake Snell so far.

 San Francisco signed Snell to a two-year, $62 million deal on March 18. So far this season, the two-time Cy Young Award winner is 0-3 with a 11.57 ERA and 1.97 WHIP across 3 starts.

The Giants have been outscored 34-6 in those three games. 

After his last bad start on April 19, Snell was asked whether he should have started the season in the minor leagues, considering that he missed spring training. 

“It was definitely an option, but I don’t think I needed it,” Snell said, per USA Today. “I still don’t think I need it.

“I’ve just got to get better with sequencing,” Snell added. “The stuff is there, so it’s all sequencing and pitching like I know I can. Once I start doing that, then the what-ifs and all that will fade. 

“The more I get in the zone, the more I have better sequencing and understanding hitters, then the outcomes will be better. In a month, two months from now, we’ll be talking about other things.” 

Pitch sequencing involves a strategic combination of different pitch types, locations, and speeds to keep batters off balance and maximize effectiveness, per Kore Baseball. 

Problems with pitch sequencing suggests a lack of communication between Snell and his catchers, since they call pitches in tandem. This makes a lot of sense, considering that Snell and Giants catchers would have addressed this communication gap during spring training, if Snell was on the team at that point. 

But since Snell signed so late, they now have to work out any sequencing kinks when the games matter. 

Should Snell Have Started In Triple-A?

There’s a strong case to be made that Snell should have started the season in the minor leagues. 

A great comparison for Snell is the pitcher he faced on April 19: Arizona Diamondbacks ace Jordan Montgomery

Montgomery signed with Arizona on March 29, 11 days after Snell signed with San Francisco. Therefore, Montgomery wasn’t able to play with Arizona during spring training. Rather than start the MLB season with his new team, Montgomery instead made two starts in the minor leagues

He produced a 10.57 ERA across those two starts. Yet, Montgomery’s goal in those outings was to shake any rust off before joining the Diamondbacks. 

Which he did; proven by him giving up just 1 earned run in 6 innings during his April 18 MLB season debut. 

Hindsight is 20/20. But the Giants trying a similar tactic with Snell might have had him pitching better by this point. 

Giants Need Snell’s Help

The San Francisco Giants pitchers are struggling out of the gates this season.

Their 4.88 team ERA is 27th in the league. And the opposing batting average against their starting pitchers is .260, which is 25th in the league. 

Giants pitchers will need to perform better if they’re to compete in the NL West division. Considering the offensive firepower that the Los Angeles Dodgers have, the Giants need Snell to start producing like he did for the San Diego Padres in 2023 if they have a chance of making the playoffs. 

The season is still young, and Snell has time to turn things around. But the clock is ticking.  

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