Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Top Rays prospect Blake Snell drawing raves

Starting pitcher Blake Snell throws live batting practice during the first full-squad workout of Rays spring training at Charlotte Sports Park on Friday.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Starting pitcher Blake Snell throws live batting practice during the first full-squad workout of Rays spring training at Charlotte Sports Park on Friday.

PORT CHARLOTTE — LHP Blake Snell came into camp with considerable hype as one of the game's top pitching prospects and thus far has showed why after another impressive batting practice session Sunday that left teammates and bosses raving.

"The guy got every accolade possible in minor-league baseball last year, and I guess you'd much rather have it the way that it's going than him come in and not live up to the hype," manager Kevin Cash said.

"He has definitely fit the bill. But he just looks, the way I describe it, like a 12-year-old throwing 98 mph out there, locating all of his pitches."

Snell, 23, said he has been pleased with what he has done, working primarily on his four-seam fastball command.

"I feel really good, really, really good," he said. "I'm excited about it. I like the swings that I'm seeing. And I like how locked in I already am now, so I'm excited for what's to come."

Rene Rivera, who hit against him, said Snell's pitches were tough to pick up: "The ball gets in on you quick. … It's early in camp; if he's nasty now, he's going to be real good later."

Curt Casali, who caught him, praised Snell for being aggressive in attacking the zone ("just being able to shove it in there with the best of them") and also for maintaining his poise: "We wouldn't be able to tell if he was nervous or not just because of his demeanor — he's kind of got that glazed-over look sometimes, and it works to his advantage."

FOR STARTERS: RHP Jake Odorizzi is "projected" to start Wednesday's exhibition opener against the Nationals, but Cash said that could change as the team works through scheduling issues related to the planned-but-not-official March 20-22 trip to Cuba. On a five-day plan, who starts Wednesday would be lined up to pitch in Havana.

"There's a lot of schedule conflict with the Cuba trip, so we're trying to line that up correctly," Cash said. "You're not just talking about one game in Cuba, you're talking about three days that we have to factor in with how we're going to get all of our pitchers the work they need."

PITCHING IN: Based on their heavy 2015 workloads and projected usage this season in the bullpen, RHP Alex Colome and LHP Xavier Cedeno are being held back by design. Both are slated for bullpen sessions today, then their first live batting practices Thursday. RHP Brad Boxberger similarly might get some lighter duty. … RHP Ryan Webb took a precautionary day off rather than throw batting practice after experiencing some tightness in his left hamstring; he is slated to throw a bullpen today. … Cash said RHP Erasmo Ramirez was "lights out" in his batting practice session with "all the hitters … raving about his stuff." Cash also praised LHP Enny Romero and RHP Andrew Bellatti for their work.

MISCELLANY: Players and staff started the day attending an MLB-mandated meeting on domestic violence issues. … Principal owner Stuart Sternberg is expected to make his annual camp visit Tuesday, after tonight's appearance at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg. … Tuesday's workout will be somewhat abbreviated due to the annual charity golf tournament. … Cash noted how well the outfielders threw during drills.

Top Rays prospect Blake Snell drawing raves 02/28/16 [Last modified: Monday, February 29, 2016 12:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …