Blake Snell Improving From Elbow Inflammation
We’ve seemingly only been reporting bad news when it comes to pitchers, so it’s refreshing to pass along some positive developments. After dealing with an inflamed, painful elbow, Rays ace Blake Snell responded well from his recent cortisone injection, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Snell threw 20 fastballs on Tuesday from a flat service, and it sounds like everything went accordingly.
“He said it felt exactly what he was expecting to feel,’’ said pitching coach Kyle Snyder.
“Felt good. I don’t think great. Not bad. But he’ll throw (again Wednesday),’’ said manager Kevin Cash said. “[T]hey’re all going through something right now getting ramped up, so not overly concerned.’’
Snell is still expected to miss at least a week or two of the regular season, but a return to the mound this week will reduce how much time he’ll spend on the injured list. If he continues to progress, we should expect him back by mid-April.
That’s good news for both the Rays and (selfishly) fantasy owners. Snell was brilliant in 2018, winning 21 games with a sparkling 1.89 ERA en route to his first Cy Young award. His follow-up was disappointing, as the lefty was limited to six wins and a 4.29 ERA in only 107 innings last year.
Fortunately, there are still reasons to be optimistic about Snell going forward. Snell’s 2018 campaign was party fueled by an unsustainable .241 BABIP, but his 2019 mark ballooned to a .343 BABIP, which is also unsustainable. Even if you adjust to the middle of those two marks, you’re eyeing an ERA that’s still in the low threes.
Meanwhile, his FIP has generally been consistent over the past few seasons, indicating that both his 2018 and 2019 seasons were partly attributed to luck (or a lack thereof). With Snell apparently heading towards full health, there’s a chance for us to get into the fun. The Rays pitched is currently tied for sixth in American League Cy Young odds, but he could easily leap over some of the names that are above him on the list.