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Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell had a breakout season in 2018, and after leading the American League in wins (21) and ERA (1.89), he’s become one of the leading candidates to win the AL Cy Young Award. Snell is up against pitchers like Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros and Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians, who both won the award in previous years. (UPDATE: Snell has won the American League Cy Young award for 2018. Read more here on the win.)
Snell’s league-leading win total didn’t just come against bad teams, either. He went 9-2 with a 2.00 ERA against the teams with the five highest-scoring offenses in baseball: the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians. Not bad for a 25-year-old in his third season in the majors.
Snell joined a special club with his performance this season, becoming just the seventh pitcher since 1920 to win 20 games, have an ERA lower than 2.00, and do it all at 25 years old or younger—Snell will turn 26 in December—according to MLB.com. He also ranked in the top-5 in the American League in strikeouts per 9 Innings (K/9 11.01) after putting up 221 strikeouts in just 180.2 innings pitched.
Snell took some time to speak with us about how he dominated hitters during the 2018 season, showing us how he grips some of the pitches that helped him get it done.
In the video, Snell also talks about:
The AL Cy Young award was announced on November 14.