Comparing San Diego & Tampa Bay SP Usage 2018-20

With news of the Blake Snell trade to San Diego (covered here and here by our fine folks at FG and Podhorzer will have a fantasy piece out Tuesday), there is a lot of chatter about his workload now that he’s out of Tampa Bay. This isn’t a particularly new issue – he didn’t complete six innings once in the regular season – but it all came to a head in Game 6 of the World Series when Snell was removed after 5 1/3 brilliant innings, allowing just a run on two hits with nine strikeouts and zero walks in 73 pitches.

We need not relitigate the move, but when news struck of Snell’s trade out of Tampa Bay to the San Diego Padres, many of those against the World Series move rejoiced at the idea of the reins at least being loosened if not fully removed in his new home. Let’s see if we can gain some insight on how much of that is wishful thinking versus likely or at least possibly coming true.

TOTAL SP IP 2018-20
Team Inn. Rank
SDP 1921 25th
TBR 1584.3 30th

Put me down for a fat “Not great, Bob!” on that one.

Looking specifically at outings of six-plus innings probably won’t change too much, but I’m curious to see how it breaks down.

TOTAL 6+ INN. GAMES 2018-20
Team 6+ Inn. App Rank
SDP 130 24th
TBR 115 28th

That looks pretty bad, but then I wondered: who would the Padres really consistently give 6+ inning outings to over this time period? Their best full season campaigns were probably Chris Paddack’s 2019 and Joey Lucchesi’s 2018, both just rookies who made 26 starts. They were not exactly pitching rich in 2018-19 and 2020 was a short season. Over the three-year period, the Rays starters were a full run better than the Padres (3.68 to 4.67).

The 2020 Padres made the playoffs due in large part to a strong rotation that saw them get 10+ starts out of four different pitchers. With capable arms, how inclined were they to rely on their starters in comparison to the Rays?

Team Inn. Rank
SDP 286 15th
TBR 258 26th


Team 6+ Inn. App Rank
SDP 22 8th
TBR 9 28th

I know 2020 is only a two-month season so it is hard to give this as much weight as 2018-19 evidenced by the fact that just 28 innings split them by 11 rankings, but it at least hints that when they have studs, they will likely use them.

Plus, it’s not like anyone is expecting Snell to become Lance Lynn all of sudden. If he can add 2-3 outs per start, it would make a real dent over the course of a full season. Even just taking the work since his 2018 Cy Young, he has a 33% K rate, 3.96 ERA, and 1.25 WHIP. Over the course of 25 starts (I’m not confident in a full 162-game season so let’s give him 25 in a shortened 5-ish month season), it’s an extra 20-25 innings of quality ratios along with 25-30 extra strikeouts.

It will be very interesting to see how the early draft market reacts to this trade. He is currently going 17th among pitchers and 53rd overall, just behind former teammate Tyler Glasnow. I think he will leapfrog Glasnow for sure and the hype may push him above Kenta Maeda sitting at 47th overall.

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

What about Park Factors?

1 year ago
Reply to  pedeysRSox

As he noted in the 1st paragraph ,Pod will have that piece out tomorrow