Pirates Notebook: Too early to give up on Snell

After his recent outing against the Cubs, which yielded six runs in five innings, and raised his ERA to 5.43 on the season, Pirates fans are calling for Ian Snell’s head. Snell, who makes $3.2 M this season, ranking him as the second highest paid starter in the rotation, now has the worst ERA amongst Pirates’ starters, and by far the worst WHIP at 1.585. Considering that he’s following up a season where he had a 5.42 ERA and a 1.765 WHIP in 31 starts, it’s easy to see why people want him bounced from the rotation.

The problem is that it’s too early to make that call on Snell.

Let’s look at two pitchers for a second:

Player A: 4.67 ERA/1.52 WHIP coming in to the season in question. 5.43 ERA, 1.58 WHIP in his first 10 starts of the season in question.

Player B: 4.60 ERA/1.48 WHIP coming in to the season in question. 5.11 ERA/1.52 WHIP in his first 10 starts of the season in question.

Player A is Snell. Player B is Paul Maholm in 2008.

Looking at Maholm’s numbers, there was very little to suggest that he would put up a 3.11 ERA over his final 21 starts of the 2008 season.

Now I’m not saying Ian Snell is a lock for the same success that Maholm saw last year, but he does have a good shot, maybe even better than Maholm.

In his first 10 starts of the 2008 season, Maholm had only two quality starts, both coming at the end of April. He had a 6.89 ERA in five starts in May, never allowing less than four runs in a start.

Snell, on the other hand, has been hot and cold. He has five quality starts in his first ten outings, with about a run per inning in four of his other five outings.

Maholm somehow found a way to start stringing together great outings on a consistent basis. We’ve seen Snell put up some solid outings already this season, but he hasn’t been consistent at all, and his non-quality starts have been disastrous.

It would be ridiculous to say that Snell will suddenly turn things around after ten starts just like Maholm did, simply because there’s nothing special about ten starts. The ten start number is just to show that pitchers can rebound, even after starting the season off horribly in the first two months. Based on what we’ve seen from Snell so far, he has the capability to put up strong outings. His problem is a matter of consistency (kind of like Zach Duke last season). For that reason, I don’t think it’s a wise move to give up on Snell just yet.

Draft Notes

-Chuck Finder at the PPG has a good draft preview. In the article we find the following to pretty much squash the idea that the Pirates will cut their draft spending because of Miguel Angel Sano:

“Huntington said the organization’s infusion of resources into its new Dominican Republic facility — and interest there in an elite prospect, Miguel Angel Sano, who could command a $4 million-plus bonus — won’t alter the Pirates’ draft course: “They’re independent entities. We don’t take away from one to fund the other, or we don’t shy away from a player in Latin America because we think we can draft a player in the United States. In an ideal world, the players we’re able to sign internationally … complement the draft.”

That being said, I don’t think the Pirates will be spending much with the fourth pick, regardless of who they select (unless Aaron Crow or Dustin Ackley fall to them).

-Baseball America released their top 100 prospects for the 2009 draft. You can find the list here, and if you’re a BA subscriber, you can get scouting reports for each player in the top 100 here. A few notables from The Draft Prospects Tracker:

Kyle Gibson is ranked as the second best pitcher, and fourth overall.

Alex White, Aaron Crow, and Tyler Matzek are ranked 4-6 respectively in the pitcher rankings, and 6-8 overall.

Tanner Scheppers is ranked seventh in the pitcher rankings, and ninth overall.

Dustin Ackley is ranked first on offense, and second overall behind Stephen Strasburg.

The BA rankings for players 101-200 come out today. The Pirates have four picks in the top 100, with their fourth round pick coming at #115. It’s likely that the Pirates will end up with at least five players from the top 100 list this year.

-Tanner Scheppers made his third start of the season the other night, and it wasn’t pretty. Scheppers allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings, with six strikeouts and two walks.

-MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo released his prediction for the top 20 picks. At number four he has the Pirates taking Aaron Crow.

Other Stuff

-According to Dejan Kovacevic on the PBC Blog, Ryan Doumit has been cleared to begin rehab work, putting him on schedule to return mid-June. Matt Capps could also return to pitch tonight.

-The MVP Tracker is updated with the results of the 5/27 game.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Anonymous

    BA #125 player is named “Mark Fleury”. Coincidence?

  • Tim Williams

    I noticed that. He’s also a catcher. I wonder if he’s good with the glove. It would be pretty funny if we drafted him.