Blake Snell is a pitcher for the San Diego Padres who first made an impact for the Tampa Bay Rays. Snell was promoted to the major leagues to make his debut on April 23, 2016 at Yankee Stadium. Snell's first inning showed jitters, as he allowed a run off of a wild pitch. However he calmed down after that, striking out the side in the second inning, and went onto retire 12 of the last 14 batters he faced. Through the 2016 season for Tampa, Snell made 19 starts, finishing with a 6-8 record, 3.54 ERA, and 98 strikeouts over 89 innings. At the beginning of the 2017 season, expectations were high for Snell. However, Snell failed to work into the 6th inning in almost all of his first eight games, and was routinely touching 100 pitches in the fourth inning. After posting an ERA of 4.71 through 8 starts in 2017, Snell was demoted to Durham on May 13. On June 28, Snell was recalled and his turn around was evident. After July 23, Snell went 5-1 with a 3.31 ERA to finish off the 2017 season. He finished the season with 24 starts, recording 119 strikeouts over 129 1⁄3 innings with a 4.04 ERA. Snell opened the 2018 season as the number 2 starter, behind Chris Archer. On June 3, 2018, Blake Snell tied an American League record by striking out the first seven batters he faced in a game against his hometown Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Snell would end the game allowing no runs in six innings and recorded 12 strikeouts. This was Snell's first career start at Safeco Field in front of many of his friends and family, an estimated 300, including the first professional start witnessed by his grandfather whom he considers a mentor. On September 18, Snell recorded his 20th victory on the season, becoming the first Ray to accomplish this feat since David Price in 2012. On September 23, Snell won his 21st game, setting a franchise record after pitching 62⁄3 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was again named the American League Pitcher of the Month for September, in which he went 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA and 53 strikeouts over 352⁄3 innings. Snell became the youngest pitcher to win the award in consecutive months since Johan Santana in 2004. Snell finished his breakout season leading the majors in wins (21), adjusted ERA+ (219), and batting average against (.178), as well as leading the American League in earned run average (1.89) and wins above replacement among pitchers (7.5). Snell's 1.89 ERA was the lowest in the American League since Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 mark in 2000, and the third lowest in the AL since the designated hitter was introduced in 1973 He allowed two or fewer runs in 27 of his 31 starts, and allowed one or zero runs in 21 starts. Against the American League's five playoff teams, he went 9–2 with a 2.00 ERA. On November 14, Snell won the American League Cy Young Award, topping runner-up Justin Verlander by 15 points (169–154), while receiving 17 of 30 first-place votes.[
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