DURHAM, NC - Left-handed starting pitcher and Minor League Baseball's ERA leader Blake Snell has been promoted to the Durham Bulls from Double-A Montgomery, earning his second promotion of the season. Tampa Bay's top ranked pitching prospect is expected to make his home debut at the DBAP on Tuesday, August 4.
Snell, the 52nd overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Shorewood High School, began 2015 with the Advanced-A Charlotte Stone Crabs, going 3-0 over four games, two of which were starts. The 22-year-old did not allow a run to score over 21.0 innings in Charlotte, prompting a promotion to Double-A Montgomery on April 27th. With the Biscuits the southpaw continued his scoreless streak, as he did not allow a run over his first 25.0 innings at the Double-A level to extend his scoreless inning streak to 46.0 frames. Over 12 starts with the Biscuits, the 6-foot-4-inch starter went 6-2 with a 1.57 ERA.
On the season, the Shoreline, Wash. native leads all full-season minor leaguers with a combined 1.20 ERA and .180 opponent's batting average, and ranks 6th among all minor leaguers with 106 strikeouts. Of his 14 starts in 2015, Snell has allowed 0 or 1 run 11 times, while striking out eight batters or more on six occasions. On July 12th in Cincinnati, Snell pitched 1.0 inning for the U.S. Team in the Futures Game, needing just 10 pitches to complete a perfect frame.
Ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Rays system - and 96th prospect in all of baseball - by MLB.com, Snell was the 2014 Tampa Bay Minor League Pitcher of the Year when he combined to go 8-8 with a 3.20 ERA between Single-A Bowling Green and Charlotte. In 2012, he was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year after finishing the season 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA for the Princeton Rays.
Snell's promotion to Durham marks a reunion between him and Durham manager Jared Sandberg, as the skipper had Snell on his roster in both 2013 with Bowling Green and 2014 in Charlotte. After pitching for Montgomery on Saturday, Snell is not scheduled to pitch for Durham until Friday in Norfolk. He will be added to the Bulls' active roster later in the week.
The Bulls return from a season-long 10-game road trip on Friday, July 31 at 7:05 p.m. against the Gwinnett Braves. Group and single game tickets are available now. For more information, visit durhambulls.com, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park ticket office or call 919.956.BULL.