Rays top pitching prospect started 2015 season at Class A Advanced Charlotte
By David Wilson
Special to MLB.com |
ST. PETERSBURG -- One of the most intriguing names Kevin Cash and the Rays will have to consider when rosters expand Tuesday is one of the fastest rising prospects in all of baseball. Blake Snell, who began the season pitching for Class A Advanced Charlotte, will take a 1.57 ERA into a Sunday start for Triple-A Durham, and his next stop could be the Majors.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound lefty has been just as dominant for the Bulls as he has at either of his previous stops in 2015. The lefty has gone at least five innings in each of his first seven starts for Durham, and he hasn't allowed more than one run in any of them. His 1.57 ERA is identical to the mark he posted for Double-A Montgomery.
"I'm not quite sure what we're gonna do with Blake Snell," Cash said before Tampa Bay continued its series against the Royals on Saturday at Tropicana Field, "but I think there will be plenty of excitement. The guy's had a tremendous Minor League season."
The manager said a handful of players could be called up on Tuesday and more will be added once the Bulls' season ends Sept. 7. For the most part, he said, it will be players who have appeared at some point for Tampa Bay this season, although Snell would make his Major League debut if he was promoted.
Snell is not on the Rays' 40-man roster, so Tampa Bay would have to make a move in order to activate him.
Cash still hasn't seen Snell pitch in person, and he is excited about the potential to do so. Snell was originally slated to start Tampa Bay's final exhibition game at Tropicana Field before the season began, but the Rays had just acquired Erasmo Ramirez and needed to see him pitch before the season began.
"We missed out on that opportunity," Cash said. "But from all reports -- from talking to [Durham manager] Jared Sandberg and [pitching coach] Kyle Snyder and everybody in our development system -- they've just raved about him how he's really come a long way this year."
The only other player Cash specifically referred to before Saturday's game was Matt Moore, the former All-Star starting pitcher who was optioned to Durham on Aug. 1.
Cash said the team isn't ready to say whether Moore will start or come out of the bullpen, but he did note the lefty needs to get his inning count up by the end of the season.
"It seems that Matt's in a really good spot," Cash said. "To his credit, he went down there, worked on some things that I felt we thought he needed to work on, and he also agreed. He simplified his approach. If you just look at the overall distribution of pitches, he's really taken to the mix that best suits him.
"We know how important Matt Moore is to this organization not only right now, but going forward."
David Wilson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.