On March 2, 2016 Blake Snell appeared in his first Major League Spring Training game. In the sixth inning the Rays sent Snell to the mound with the Rays leading 2-1.
The much anticipated spring debut of the Ray's top prospect didn't go as well as we might have hoped, as emphasized by a memmoth homerun allowed on a pitch left over the plate.
He got in trouble by hanging a change up right down broad street that Scott Sizemore took deep, right after throwing a change up that worked on the previous pitch.
What does this mean?
It is spring training and right now it's all about getting reps. Snell noted the same in his postgame interview stating, "It's spring training. None of it counts or really matters. It's all about getting better and learning."
In the transcript, Snell explains that he's working on getting a better feel for his change-up, and that was his goal in this outing.
I'm working on the change up, so I have to throw it, and if I want to get people out I know there are certain pitches I can do in certain counts and setups and all that.
But, if I don't work on my change up when I go into the season how am I going to get better. I'm not going to trust it. I'm not going to be able to throw it.
So right now I'm working on my change up, because it's always been my best pitch, but now I'm struggling with it. So, I'm trying to find that feel again, and that's why I'm throwing it so much now.
So, I wouldn't take it as a negative at all. It's a positive. I'm learning from it. I'm learning how to throw it. I'm trusting it. There's a lot I can learn from it.
Snell is taking the right approach in getting ready for the season and Snell will need his change up to help keep hitters off his fastball.
When asked can you learn something from a day like today. Snell replied, "Don't throw a change-up down the middle."
Sounds like a wise takeaway.
For those interested, here's Snell's play-by-play from his first outing:
- Logan Shaffer led off the inning by hitting a fly ball that was caught by center fielder Dayron Varona.
- Matt Skole singled on a fly ball to right field.
- Snell's control eluded him as he walked Tony Campana in an at bat in which he fell behind 3-0 and wasn't able to come from behind to put him out. Runners are now on first and second with one out.
- Reed Johnson singledto right field, but Jaff Decker made a strong throw home to Hank Conger to save a run and record the second out. Campana made it to third on the throw leaving runners at first and third with two outs.
- Snell hung a changeup on a 2-2 count, catching to meat of the plate, and Scott Sizemore didn't miss it, sending a fly ball over the center field fence for a three run home run. The Nationals took a 4-2 lead in the process.
- Pedro Severino then grounded out to Snell to end the inning.