Ian Snell’s Departure

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:

16 IP
10 BB
5 SO
5 HR

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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J Bravo
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J Bravo
6 years 15 days ago

Cue Dave Duncan and the Cardinals.

Samuel
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Samuel
6 years 15 days ago

We don’t need him, we already have Jeff Suppan striking out a batter an inning.

gnomez
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gnomez
6 years 15 days ago

…against one of the weakest lineups in baseball in one start. Cue collapse.

joser
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joser
6 years 15 days ago

He would be an interesting reclamation project for some kind of pitching coach wizard… a couple of years ago. By now, though, I wonder if that ship has sailed?

Felonius_Monk
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Felonius_Monk
6 years 15 days ago

“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. ”

This is chicken/egg stuff, isn’t it? Presumably Snell’s fastball is not a plus pitch by your (context-and-count-independent) run values BECAUSE he’s so often behind in the count, and therefore has to throw it over the plate more often than average in hitter-friendly counts.

Tom Au
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Tom Au
6 years 15 days ago

The Pirates did well to get rid of him last year.

ThundaPC
Member
6 years 15 days ago

Ian Snell was an interesting “buy low” player that seemed like a prime change-of-scenery candidate. Given his issues with the Pirates organization and with him being successful at one point it’s hard not to understand why the Mariners decided to give him a shot. The organization was solidly behind him and Ian Snell’s demeanor was better for it.

Unfortunately, that was the only thing that improved with him.

Per Jeff from Lookout Landing
http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2010/6/9/1510514/23-36-game-thought

Year Team Strike% SwS% BB% K% FIP
2008 PIT 62.6% 9.6% 11.6% 17.6% 4.57
2009 PIT 59.2% 8.3% 11.5% 14.6% 4.61
2009 SEA 58.7% 6.7% 13.5% 12.8% 5.23
2010 SEA 61.1% 7.2% 12.1% 9.8% 6.96

Despite having the kind of support Ian Snell seemed to have after asking for a demotion to the Pirates’ minor-league system, down the crapper he went. This has been an annoying reminder that buy-low players don’t always work. Clearly, Snell’s mood wasn’t the factor that was affecting his talent.

joser
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joser
6 years 15 days ago

Yeah, it was a risk worth taking and if not the Mariners then some non-Pirates team would’ve (or should have) done it. That the M’s got often-injured-but-defensively-awesome Jack Wilson in the deal, and mostly only gave up oft-injured-but-supposedly-full-of-potential Jeff Clement, made it even better. But not all gambles work out (just ask the Pirates) — that’s why they’re gambles, of course, and why somebody else didn’t do them before you.

Jim
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Jim
6 years 14 days ago

“And mostly only gave up oft-injured-but-supposedly-full-of potential Jeff Clement, made it even better.”

I like how in this context, “mostly” stands for 3 young promising pitchers name Nathan Adcock(who had the best curveball in the system), Aaron Pribanic, and Brett Lorin, leaving the M’s with essentially Michael Pineda(and later, Mauricio Robles) as their young pitching depth. I guess mostly could rightfully include Ronny Cedeno, since we weren’t really giving up much there.

I suppose you view the Bedard trade “mostly giving up promising but full of risk pitcher Tony Butler”, too, eh? ;)

Larry Smith Jr.
Guest
6 years 14 days ago

I had no idea Snell was 29. I still thought of him as a young player. He’s the same age as I am.

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