The Yankees need to add quality starting pitching if they want to compete for the AL East and further. They will not overcome the Red Sox with the rotation currently in place.
The best option that may be available to the Yankees to add to their shaky rotation is Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays. The 25-year-old Snell is under team control until 2023 and so far this season is 12-3 with an ERA of 2.09, a WHIP of 1.026 and has struck out 132 batters in 116 innings. He also sports a career WAR of 6.1.
Because he is just 25 and has four more years of control after this season, Snell represents a future for the Yankees and not just a rental like some of the other candidates.
What is more impressive about Snell’s performance this year is his outings versus contenders that the Yankees almost certainly will have to overcome to win the AL East and possibly a run towards a World Series Championship.
Those teams are the Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros and although it doesn’t seem so right now, the Washington Nationals — if they can right the ship in the second half of the season.
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Snell has faced the Red Sox one time so far this year and dominated the only offensive lineup that rivals the Yankees as the best in baseball. Snell tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and fanned eight.
The first time against the Mariners, Snell threw six scoreless innings, allowed just two hits and struck out 12. The second time around, the southpaw tossed another six innings, allowing seven hits, one run and struck out one. Must have been an off day?
Snell also faced the reigning World Champion Astros and fared pretty well. The first time around he pitched seven innings, allowed three hits and one run while striking out six but lacked pinpoint control and walked seven men. The next time he took the mound was far better, going 7.1 innings letting up just one hit, one run, one BB and 10 punchouts.
The young lefty also has one game vs. the Nationals where he pitched a gem of seven shutout innings of one-hit ball, fanning 10 and walking four. Not too shabby.
All totaled, Blake Snell has managed a 0.93 ERA in 32.1 innings vs. AL juggernauts Houston, Boston and Seattle with 39 strikeouts — and completely shut down a potential NL contender in the Nats with seven zero’s and 19 K’s.
Blake Snell is pitching like the kind of ace the Yankees so desperately need to slot behind Luis Severino in the rotation. He’s also a left-hander which makes him even more intriguing considering the short porch in the Bronx.
I hope Brian Cashman will try hard to do a deal with the Rays to put Blake Snell in pinstripes, even if trading within the same division isn’t the easiest of sorts.
Note: After I wrote this article, the All-Star Game selections were announced, and I was shocked to see that Blake Snell was not chosen. Shame on the players and coaches that did not select him because he was neck and neck with Luis Severino as the best first half pitcher in baseball.