Seeking a spark in their starting rotation, the Tampa Bay Rays are reportedly bringing up top prospect Blake Snell for a start Saturday against the New York Yankees.  

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported Friday the Rays will call up the left-handed pitcher from Triple-A Durham. 

Snell brings a stellar minor league pedigree and rave reviews from scouts to the big leagues. The 52nd overall pick in 2011, he entered this season ranked as‘s No. 41 prospect. He had a breakout year in 2015, posting a 1.41 ERA with 163 strikeouts and just 84 hits allowed in 134 innings across three levels. 

For his efforts last season, Snell was named Baseball America‘s Minor League Player of the Year, with John Manuel writing about what makes the southpaw a special talent:

Snell stumbled through his first full season, walking 73 in 99 innings for Bowling Green to rank second in the Midwest League and going 4-9, 4.27. The Rays figured he would have to tweak his delivery if he was going to execute the organization’s plan to pitch inside with authority. With a fastball that was steadily increasing in velocity as he added strength, Snell tantalized the Rays with his ability to bust righthanded hitters inside with his fastball and put them away with an impressive changeup that faded away from them.

Tampa Bay’s starting rotation has gotten off to a slow start in 2016. The group currently ranks 14th in ERA (3.99), 16th in innings pitched (88) and 18th in opponents’ slugging percentage (.414). 

Chris Archer, in particular, has been a huge disappointment through four starts. The 27-year-old has allowed an American League-high 30 hits and six home runs in 19.2 innings. He was one of the AL’s best starters in 2015, ranking fifth in FanGraphs‘ wins above replacement (5.3); he also had 252 strikeouts in 212 innings. 

The Rays are a team that is going to win games on the strength of the pitching staff. Snell has only made 12 total starts at Triple-A, including three this season, but his dominance in the minors and polish make him ready for this leap to the big leagues. 

If Archer can turn things around soon, a rotation featuring him, Snell, Matt Moore and Drew Smyly would be one of the AL’s most formidable, and it would keep the Rays in contention for a playoff spot this season. 

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