The New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series powered by Program 15 Sports was proud to help send four players to the big leagues over the last two seasons, starting with Bo Naylor debuting late in the 2022 season, who was joined by Tyler Soderstrom, Grayson Rodriguez and Kyren Paris last year.
The ball is rolling, and the next wave of FSS alumni set to make their major-league debuts are making their case.
After starting off by taking a look at Tink Hence, Zac Veen, Anthony Solometo and Dylan Crews, here’s another player who might just be next, as well as the path they took through the Future Stars Series to get there.
Robby Snelling, LHP — San Diego Padres (Highest Level: AA)
Although Snelling never attended a signature event with the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series, his history with the organization is both lengthy and decorated.
It’s one that starts all the way back in 2017 when he attended the Los Angeles combine and extends all the way through to 2021, when he was named the MVP of the 2022 grad class national tournaments as a member of NorCal.
In-between those two points, Snelling was seen multiple times, including the NorCal World Series in 2019, the Music City Classic later that year, and several regional combines. On the FSS radar for many years at that point, his most recent scouting report included notes from the development staff at that time, a group that liked his “loose whippy arm and…good balance and separation at the top of your delivery,” one that they noted was repeatable; he also pounded the bottom of the zone, showed good command of a curveball that was sharp and had late movement, and a changeup that featured significant arm side run.
Still a two-way player at the time who also earned high marks at the time for what he could do with the bat — the scouting staff called him a potential “middle of the lineup hitter” — Snelling became a name to watch in Lake Charles that year, and helped NorCal all the way to the title with two pitching performances on a stacked team that also included Henry Bolte.
Snelling was invited to the Main Event that year, but was unable to attend due to a football commitment…you may recall he famously was committed to play both sports at The University of Arizona, but ultimately switched to LSU to follow Jay Johnson there.
Snelling, of course, never got there, needing a reported $3 million signing bonus to get him out of that commitment from the San Diego Padres, who took him with the 39th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. It was, at the time, a significant amount to give a prep arm, but now looks like a steal with what he’s gone on to accomplish.
Considered to be the Pitcher of the Year in the minors by multiple publications, the still only 19-year-old lefty went a combined 11-3 with a 1.88 ERA across 22 outings over three levels; he opened his professional career in Lake Elsinore, was promoted to High-A Fort Wayne in early July, and finished strong in Double-A San Antonio. Snelling struck out 118 batters in 103 1/3 innings of work, and will likely receive a quick taste of what’s to come with a cameo in big league spring training this coming year.
Past that? Difficult as it may be to see a 20-year-old in his second full professional year get to the big leagues, there’s a very reasonable path to get there for Snelling, who would likely be ticketed to return to San Antonio to start the 2024 season. Using the same three-pitch mix that FSS staffers liked so much even in his amateur days — albeit with a fastball that now touched 97 miles per hour — his MLB ETA would, at the latest, seem to be set for 2025. However, with a strong showing out of the gate in the Padres organization, a debut by the All-Star break certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility either.
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