When we last discussed Ian Snell, he was on his way back into the Seattle rotation. Nary four weeks into his return, he’s not only on his way back out, but might be on his way to the minors. The Mariners chose to designate the 29-year-old righty for assignment yesterday, hours after Snell was abused by the Cardinals on national television. As it stood, Snell’s deposit to the rotation lasted four starts, during which his totals equaled:
That’s a FIP of roughly … REALLYREALLYBAD. It’s easy to make jokes at Snell’s expense but the thing is: this guy used to be pretty good. Since 2006-2007 he’s become less of a groundball pitcher and more of a flyball pitcher; less of a strikeout pitcher and more of a contact pitcher; and more of a base giver and less of an out taker. Maybe if one or two of those things were true, Snell would still have a major league job, but all three is the kiss of death.
Snell’s issues with home runs aren’t shocking in the least. He’s a guy who often falls behind in counts. That’s problematic for any pitcher, even more so when your fastball has never been a plus pitch according to our run values. For Snell that combination was lethal. He threw his fastball 80% of the time he fell behind 2-1; 91% of the time he fell behind 3-1; 100% of the time he faced 3-0; and even 70% of the time he had a full count working. In fact, the only counts in which Snell threw fewer than half fastballs were 0-1, 1-2, and 2-2.
So, that’s Ian Snell in a blanket. He doesn’t throw strikes; he doesn’t miss bats; he doesn’t deceive anyone, and he has an ever-slimming hope of ever reaching 90% of his former self.
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