It may not have been the cleanest of outings for Rays No. 1 prospect Blake Snell, but that didn't stop the left-hander from doing something he had never done before in 100 Minor League starts.
Snell, No. 12 on the Top 100, took his bat-missing ability to another level on Friday night as he punched out a career-high 13 hitters in just 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Durham, which was shut out by Lehigh Valley, 4-0. And even though he took the loss after allowing three earned runs on seven hits, Snell demonstrated solid control and command in the outing as he issued one free pass while throwing 71 of his 103 pitches for strikes.
The 23-year-old southpaw struck out the side twice and had at least two strikeouts in each of his first five frames, with more than half (seven) of his 13 strikeouts coming on called third strikes. The performance improved Snell's International League-leading strikeout total to 90, which is also the second-highest mark in the Minor Leagues.
Aside from all the strikeouts, Snell -- who struck out six over five innings of one-run ball in his big league debut on April 23 at Yankee Stadium -- has pitched to a solid 3.29 ERA in 63 innings (12 starts) this season for the Bulls, with 28 walks. Meanwhile, Snell has continued to keep the ball in the park this season while holding opposing hitters to a .234 average.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.