Oh boy, wow, I feel so honored. I'd like to thank my mom, my producers, my boys, and most of all the fans. They're what drive me.
No I don't think that was Snell's acceptance speech (and as of now I don't think he has one). Either way it's nice to be a part of the staff. But I digress.
Blake Snell was awarded the 2015 Player of the Year Award by Baseball America Wednesday. Obviously he had to have had a good season if he was given the award. He spent time in Class A Advanced, Double A, and Triple A. The Rays were very aggressive with promoting him, but they weren't aggressive enough to call him up to the majors just yet. It'll come in time, but for now I'm content with him staying in the minors a tiny bit longer. Next season we'll see him in St. Petersburg, don't worry. He's just 22 at Triple A, 4.9 years younger than average Triple A player.
What gave Snell so much success was his ability to strike out hitters. Across all three levels, he struck out 31.3% of all batters. Since a 25% strikeout rate is very, very good (on a 20-80 scale that'd probably be about a 65-70), so what he's doing would be like an 80. An 80 tool in anything is never bad. If you strike guys out, you're going to succeed.
The strikeout rate was complemented by other great peripherals. His ERA was 1.41, which led EVERYONE in the minor leagues. Gulf Coast League to Triple A. His WHIP was 1.02, which was excellent by all means. Opposing hitters had just a .180 average. He also left 89.0% of batters on base. In his four appearances at Class A Advanced, he didn't allow a single run. Letting up few runs, allowing very few batters on base, and leaving the few who do get on base there is a great supplement to the strikeout rate.
One thing I will note is that Snell's walk rate is very high this season. At 10.2%, that is way below par. It should be noted that it has improved overall from his career and even just over the season as it was 13.4% when he was promoted to Double A but was just 7.6% in nine starts at Triple A. His control tool is still in the works, but it's starting to look a lot better. If his control looks similar to start next year as it does when he ended the year at AAA, he could see the majors soon.
Jeremy Hellickson was the only other Rays pitcher to earn this award, which he did in 2010. That year he had a 2.72 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and a K/BB of 3.43. Snell performed even better than Hellickson did. The following year, Hellickson won Rookie of the Year. I'm not saying Snell will win, but I'm also saying he performed better than someone who won the award the following season.