Snelling finishes up award-winning first pro year

September 20, 2023

The San Diego Padres needed a reported $3 million signing bonus to lure Robby Snelling out of an LSU commitment — and, previous to that, thoughts of playing both baseball and football at Arizona — to take him with the No. 39 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft and ultimately get him signed.

At the time, it was perhaps a risky play for a prep arm that many were not familiar with.

Now? It may be a bargain that goes down among the best value picks in the last few years.

Just 19 years old, the big lefty was recently named as a finalist for the Minor League Baseball Pitcher of the Year, and earned California League Pitcher of the Year honors as well as a postseason All-Star selection despite making only 11 starts for the Lake Elsinore Storm before being promoted High-A Fort Wayne and eventually Double-A San Antonio.

A finalist for MiLB Pitcher of the Year alongside Yankees prospect Drew Thorpe and one of the Cubs top young arms, Cade Horton, what Snelling was able to do in his first year of professional baseball was truly remarkable; he finished with an 11-3 record, 1.82 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings over 22 starts across three levels, and likely isn’t done adding to his trophy case.

Already inside? Snelling was the MVP of the 2021 New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series national tournaments for the 2022 grad class, taking a NorCal team that had Henry Bolte — who would go 17 picks later to the Oakland Athletics — and others all the way to a big celebration after the final game was played.

Also named as Baseball America’s Padres Minor League Player of the Year, Snelling is considered to be a consensus top 100 prospect in the game — FSS Plus analyst Joe Doyle had him as San Diego’s No. 3 prospect — with a return to Double-A likely to start the 2024 season, one which he could potentially finish up at Petco Park if he’s able to continue his meteoric trajectory.

Mike Ashmore
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