The Arizona Fall League has been in play for three weeks this year and D.J. Snelten is yet to allow a runner to score on him. Who is D.J. Snelten? The Giants selected Snelten in the ninth round of the 2013 MLB Draft, and while you won't find his name anywhere on top prospect lists, the big lefty is following a solid showing this season over to the desert.
The Scottsdale Scorpions have used Snelten five times out of the bullpen. In eight innings, he's allowed four hits and walked four while striking out seven. Opponents are hitting only .148 off him.
While Snelten's stats halfway through the AFL are just a handful of innings, they fit the narrative of his performance in 2017. One year earlier, Snelten was far from spectacular in Advanced Single-A with the San Jose Giants. There he pitched to a 4.11 ERA, .302 opponents' batting average and a 1.52 WHIP. Those numbers don't ring encouragement, but the Giants still promoted Snelten to Double-A Richmond to start the 2017 season.
All the 6-foot-7 lefty needed was 15 dominant appearances out of the bullpen to earn his way to Triple-A. Over 21.2 innings with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Snelten went 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA while striking out 28 batters to only five walks. Opposing batters hit .226 off him and he put up a 1.11 WHIP.
Finishing the rest of the season in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League for the Sacramento River Cats, Snelten was every bit as good on the mound. He hurled another 52 innings, coming out of the bullpen in 36 games, and ended with a 2.42 ERA to go with his perfect 4-0 record. And both his opponents' batting average (.197) and WHIP (1.08) went down in a tougher league for pitchers.
Snelten stood 5-foot-8 as a freshman in high school. He's now nearly a foot taller at 25 years old and his fastball sits in the low 90s. Simply put, any left-handed pitcher that stands that tall with velocity will get a long look.
Beede makes to windup
After struggling in his AFL debut, Giants top pitching prospect Tyler Beede found the strike zone and success followed in his second start on Tuesday. Beede allowed two hits and struck out four over four innings where both runs scored were unearned.
The big news is Beede did not walk anyone after issuing three walks in two innings in his debut. Finding his rhythm to pound the strike zone may have come from a mechanical change too.
"I started going over my head, which was a more comfortable mechanic for me to find my rhythm and tempo," Beede told MLB.com. "That was really the small adjustment that I made to kind of make a big difference for me."
The AFL is the perfect time to play with adjustments and Beede's small change could play large dividends down the road.