ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (WFLA) He is tied for second place in all of baseball for wins (12) and leads all pitchers in earned run average (2.09) but Tampa Bay Rays pitcher, Blake Snell, was left off the American League roster for this month's Major League Baseball All-Star Game. For now.
"It's frustrating. I thought I did a lot of things I needed to do to be a good candidate to represent the Rays and the MLB elite," Snell said. "I was frustrated for sure but definitely happy for the guys that made it."
Signs of Snell's resurgence (12-4 record in 2018) began last August when he ended a slump of nearly a calendar year without registering a win. It is easy to see how a player can slip into unnoticed territory. But with a first half of the season like Snell's, the entire sport is talking about the Rays lefty. Now, they say Snell and another word, "Snub". During the coming days, there will be tweaks to the American League roster, especially Sunday, when pitching assignments eliminate some pitchers from the All-Star Game all together. Snell is the first replacement and will likely head to Washington D.C. but is that enough?
"I just feel like being an alternate is not satisfying as people saying 'Wow, he put in a good first half'." Snell said. "I feel like I earned it but by being an alternate just doesn't feel the same."
Reaction from baseball is sympathetic to Snell's situation and at least one player spoke publicly about the voting process. Houston Astros pitcher, Justin Verlander, responding a to a critical tweet by Rays pitcher, Chris Archer, blamed paper ballots and the early due date for player votes. The players selected the pitchers more than three weeks ago, before Snell vaulted himself atop the list of major statistical categories.
All-Star Game or not, Snell is a big force behind a Rays club that climbed back over the .500 mark on Sunday with a win over the New York Mets. Snell is in a groove that few pitchers get to enjoy, during long stretches of a given season and his motivation will not come from a vote that many feel say is flawed.
"That's not going to change anything," Snell said. "I play for Tampa and that's what I'm focused on is winning games here and going as deep as I can into games. This is something that would be a cool part for me and would mean a lot to me if I was selected."