Blake Snell may just be back

© Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Snell We had to see 2022 as an opportunity to recover. After the infamous being pulled By Rays manager Kevin Cash as he leads once in the sixth game of the Decisive 6 game of the 2020 World Championships, the left is dealt the Padres in Big turnout in December. he is Struggle to find his groove At San Diego in 2021, he fought through an inconsistent season for the disappointing Padres and finished with a 4.20 ERA, 3.82 FIP, and 3.74 xFIP. He must have been eager to put his middle start for Padres behind him as he geared up for the start of 2022 for the first time on April 10, but he got scratched during a pre-game practice session, hitting the injured list and making way for the prospect of Padres (and current Washington Nationals) Mackenzie Gor To achieve his first appearance in the league.

No, the return will have to wait. Snell will have to endure starting rehab in Fort Wayne, Indiana, then Lake Elsinore, California, and then El Paso, Texas before joining the team on May 18 in Philadelphia. He would have had to incur eight team losses in his first eight games, during which he scored 5.13 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 4.04 xFIP and only finished the sixth inning twice. In his final start before the All-Star break on July 14 in Colorado, Snell walked six times and allowed five runs over 3.2 innings. He walked his last three hits in the first inning, forcing him into two runs.

But you wouldn’t have known any of that last Wednesday night, when Snell entered the seventh inning at Petco Park against the Cardinals, one of the league’s strongest offenses, ending the night with a career high. 13 hits over 7.0 runs without points. The performance was the crown jewel in the second half as Snell brought himself back into the conversation as one of the league’s most dominant lefties—and one of the October X factors in San Diego.

Since the All-Stars’ break (and during last Wednesday’s games), Snell has amassed 2.5 WAR, the second highest total in the majors and more than he was worth in all of 2021. In 12 starts in that time, he has a 2.42 ERA, leads the bigs with 93 strikes, ranks fifth with 2.07 FIP, third with 2.54 xFIP, and fourth with 12.49 strikes per 9.0 runs (minimum 50 runs). He was not allowed more than once in nine of those rounds:

Best pitchers according to WAR since the All-Star break

Until September 21

His success was partly a result of his ability to rein in the sky-high rate of walking that plagued him in 2021 and the first half of this year. Although Snell was never a control model, he was looking forward to a top walking rate of 12.5% ​​from last year with an average of 13.8% during the first half, the second highest in the majors (minimum 50 IP). In the second half, he managed to cut that by more than half, issuing walks to 5.9% of speculators.

He’s also managed to miss bats at the highest level – Snell’s swing hit rate of 15.5% on second-half trails only Jacob deGrom’s other rate of 21.4% – thanks in part to Fastball’s increased velocity. In July, his average fastball speed hit 95.8 mph before jumping to 96.4 so far this month, which is the highest average speedball speed since the tail end of Cy Young’s 2018 season. On his last start, he was throwing more aggressively than ever, surpassing his previous career speed (98.5 mph in September 2018) by four strings at 98.9, 98.7 and 98.6 mph.

The extra speed was enough to turn a pitch that was worth -7.4 in the first half into one worth 6.1 after the break. Opposition hitters deployed .418 xwOBA versus Snell’s fastball in June, .377 in July, .285 in August, and .257 so far in September. His four stitches haven’t been that effective since 2019:

Blake Snell’s Fastball in 2022

Month average speed xwOBA
mayo 95.4 .384
June 95.5 .418
July 95.8 .377
August 95.8 .285
September 96.4 .257

Source: baseball world

It also appears that Snell has developed a new level of convenience with its slider, which took over late last year as its primary fast-track. He’s thrown the slider more than two marks hard this year, averaging 88.8 mph, and it’s become his signature pitch against both the right and left.

The slider was on full display last Wednesday, making 23 swings that resulted in 15 whiffs, seven fouls, and seven runs by the NBA candidate MVP Paul Goldschmidt. Seven of Snell’s 13 hits were swinging on the slider.

In the end, one of the driving factors in Snell’s success in the second half was that his arsenal allowed him to return to effectiveness against right-hand hitters. The Righties scored .259 wOBA against Snell in the second half after posting a .328 mark in the first half — and .34 mark in 2021.

The result was Snell reminiscent of the days of rays.

With Padres approaching the supplement dock, Snell’s improvements have made it a huge factor in the Wild Card series best of the three. Depending on how the rest of the season rocks, the Padres will likely meet either the Cardinals or whichever Mets and Braves fail to take the NL East. Anyway, the file monk pitching staff – including Snell appetizers, Yo DarwishAnd the Joe MusgroveAnd the Shawn MindAnd the Mike Clevenger – Their hands will be full of one of the best offenses in the disciplines. Depending on how Bob Melvin uses his staff the rest of the way, Snell looks like a strong candidate to start a potentially crucial game. The Padres should be satisfied with that now.

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