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Evaluating Blake Snell’s 2021 season

Blake Snell’s first season in the brown and gold was a roller coaster ride

Los Angeles Angels v San Diego Padres Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

A.J. Preller stunned the baseball world when he went out acquired Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays just months after Snell shut down the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series.

Snell’s 2021 season was stunning in itself. Padres fans set high expectations for the former Cy Young award winner and he failed to live up up to them for the first four months of the season.

Snell owned a 6.84 ERA in May followed up by a 6 ERA a couple months later in July. In the first four months of the season, Snell had six starts where he surrendered four or more runs. He had five starts where he walked four or more batters in that same span. One of those starts was July 28 versus the Oakland Athletics where Snell gave up seven runs in four innings:

However, Snell finally did live up to expectations in the last two months of the season. His best month of the year was in August where he owned a 1.72 ERA and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning in back to back starts going into the last few weeks of the regular season.

In the final full month of the season, Snell posted a 0.391 WHIP in 7.2 innings of work. Unfortunately, his September would be cut short due to a groin injury.

Another positive aspect of Snell’s debut season in the brown and gold is how well he pitched against the Dodgers and Giants. Against Los Angeles and San Francisco, Snell kept hitters to .188 and .151 batting averages respectively in a combined eight starts against the two teams.

The Padres will have a Cy Young contender next year if he can pitch like that against every team he faces.

If there was one word to describe Snell’s first year in San Diego, it would be encouraging. Some fans, and rightfully so, are going to look at his bad first three quarters of the season and therefore conclude that 2021 was a disappointment for Snell. And he himself would probably agree with that viewpoint.

With that said, I’m choosing to go with the more positive route because there’s been too much negative news recently surrounding the franchise.