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Blake Snell named Baseball America's 2015 Minor League Player of the Year

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Blake Snell
Blake Snell
Jim Donten

LHP prospect Blake Snell is Baseball America's 2015 Minor League Player of the Year, thanks to an incredible season where he led the minor leagues in ERA, across three levels. He becomes just the ninth pitcher in 35 years to claim the honor. The following comes from the Rays' press release:

"Last year, Blake was just another pitching prospect, but he combined development strides with performance like no one else in the minors in 2015," said John Manuel, editor in chief of Baseball America. "His season ranks with the best performances by a pitcher in the last decade, as he was stingy with runs and profligate with strikeouts."

A supplemental first-round pick in 2011 out of a Washington high school, Snell vaulted from high Class A Charlotte to Double-A Montgomery and then to Triple-A Durham, where he finished the season. He's the fourth Rays farmhand to win the award, joining outfielders Rocco Baldelli (2002) and Delmon Young (2005) and righthander Jeremy Hellickson (2011), who was the last pitcher to win the award. Snell is the first lefthanded pitcher to win the award since the Rockies' Jeff Francis in 2004.

Snell, 22, opened the season with a 46-inning scoreless streak and went on to lead the minor leagues in ERA at 1.41, the lowest mark since Justin Verlander's 1.29 ERA in 2005. Overall, Snell went 15-4, 1.41, striking out 163 in 134 innings. He allowed just 84 hits, limiting opponents to a .182 average (best in the minors among starters), and walked 53 while posting a 1.02 WHIP. He tied for fourth in the minors in wins and strikeouts and ranked ninth in WHIP.

"He's very driven and he wants to be a No. 1 starter in the big leagues," Durham pitching coach Kyle Snyder said. "There's no question that's his ceiling, and he's confident he'll reach it. Certain guys have confidence, but with certain guys, confidence can be a liability. That's not the case with Blake."

Baseball America, part of The Enthusiast Network, is a full-service media company with in-depth coverage of every level of baseball, from high school and college to the minors all the way to the major leagues. Baseball America magazine is published 24 times a year, and BaseballAmerica.com features BA's signature content updated daily. Baseball America also publishes several annual reference books including the Prospect Handbook, the definitive resource on up and coming professional talent. BA will present Snell's award during its awards galaDec. 8 at the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

BASEBALL AMERICA MINOR LEAGUE POY WINNERS


1981 • Mike Marshall, 1b, Dodgers

1982 • Ron Kittle, of, White Sox

1983 • Dwight Gooden, rhp, Mets

1984 • Mike Bielecki, rhp, Pirates

1985 • Jose Canseco, of, Athletics

1986 • Gregg Jefferies, ss, Mets

1987 • Gregg Jefferies, ss, Mets

1988 • Tom Gordon, rhp, Royals

1989 • Sandy Alomar, c, Padres

1990 • Frank Thomas, 1b, White Sox

1991 • Derek Bell, of, Blue Jays

1992 • Tim Salmon, of, Angels

1993 • Manny Ramirez, of, Indians

1994 • Derek Jeter, ss, Yankees

1995 • Andruw Jones, of, Braves

1996 • Andruw Jones, of, Braves

1997 • Paul Konerko, 1b, Dodgers

1998 • Eric Chavez, 3b, Athletics

1999 • Rick Ankiel, lhp, Cardinals

2000 • Jon Rauch, rhp, White Sox

2001 • Josh Beckett, rhp, Marlins

2002 • Rocco Baldelli, of, Devil Rays

2003 • Joe Mauer, c, Twins

2004 • Jeff Francis, lhp, Rockies

2005 • Delmon Young, of, Devil Rays

2006 • Alex Gordon, 3b, Royals

2007 • Jay Bruce, of, Reds

2008 • Matt Wieters, c, Orioles

2009 • Jason Heyward, of, Braves

2010 • Jeremy Hellickson, rhp, Rays

2011 • Mike Trout, of, Angels

2012 • Wil Myers, of, Royals

2013 • Byron Buxton, of, Twins

2014 • Kris Bryant, 3b, Cubs

2015 • Blake Snell, lhp, Rays