Blake Snell Has Realized How Important Spring Training Is After Terrible Start

But who is to blame?
May 27, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Blake Snell (7) delivers a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
May 27, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Blake Snell (7) delivers a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports / Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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Blake Snell is really struggling right now. The two-time Cy Young winner has been an absolute bust for the San Francisco Giants after signing a two-year, $62 million deal in free agency. Both his traditional and advanced stats are very bad as he's 0-3 with a 10.42 ERA, -1.0 WAR, 2.0 WHIP, and has only made it through a total of 19 innings in five starts.

So what's the problem? Why does one of the best pitchers in baseball suddenly look like one of the worst? Well, he didn't attend Spring Training. Turns out that month-long ramp-up that teams have been practicing for a century is pretty important. Take Snell's word for it.

"The one thing I would say, yeah, like big league Spring Training, you need it," Snell told reporters. "It's tough to do it. I thought I did everything I could to be ready. Even just after two weeks noticing how much better I'm throwing the ball just being here everyday. Yeah, you can't... There's nothing like, you have to go to spring training. For teams, I hope teams see that. I don't know how Montgomery's doing, but I bet it's tough for him. It's not easy. I didn't face a big league hitter until I pitched my first game in the big leagues this year. It's tough. You just have nothing to go off of. You're kind of like let's see what we got. Faced 18-year olds. It's all excuses but, it's the truth."

Montgomery is Jordan Montgomery, who signed a one-year, $25 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks a week after Snell signed with the Giants. They are both Scott Boras clients and they both missed Spring Training because they didn't sign until it was nearly over. Montgomery has also struggled, but not quite as much as Snell.

Boras, you may recall, was not worried about dragging anyone's feet to get deals done and promised his free agents would "not end up behind in any way when they do report to camp.” According to Boras he "took care of this years ago" by hiring a team of trainers and support staff. “I’ve spent millions on sports training facilities and instructors. I can conduct a spring training.”

Apparently not. What's worse is that Snell doesn't seem to understand who didn't prioritize Spring Training in this situation. It probably wasn't the teams who were holding Spring Training. Perhaps it was his agent? Snell may never know.

Whoever is to blame for Snell's late start, the Giants would probably have preferred he had worked out the kinks three months ago, rather than when the games count. Snell is their highest paid player by a pretty wide margin and he's far from their best player.


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Stephen Douglas

STEPHEN DOUGLAS

Stephen Douglas is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. He has been in journalism and media since 2008, and now casts a wide net with coverage across all sports. Stephen spent more than a decade with The Big Lead and has previously written for Uproxx and The Sporting News. He has three children, two degrees and one now unverified Twitter account.