On Wednesday evening, Rays starter Blake Snell was named the winner of the American League Cy Young Award. The Mets’ Jacob deGrom won the honor in the National League.
Snell, 25, had an outstanding season, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. He was a consensus top-20 prospect leading into the 2016 season and pitched reasonably well in his first two seasons in the majors. In 2018, he went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio in 180 2/3 innings. Snell’s 21 wins led all of baseball and his 1.89 ERA led the AL.
Coincidentally, Snell was randomly selected to be drug-tested on Friday, he said on Thursday afternoon:
Snell isn’t the first player to call into question the supposed randomness of MLB’s drug-testing program. Earlier this year, Snell’s former teammate, outfielder Carlos Gómez, said that he doesn’t believe it’s random and, in fact, targets older players and Latin players. Brewers 1B/OF Eric Thames was repeatedly drug-tested after getting off to a blistering start in 2017. He chose to laugh at his situation and said he doesn’t believe the selection is random.
Free agent first baseman Matt Adams has signed a one-year, $3 million pact with the Nationals, the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. The contract comes with a $1 million buyout on a 2020 option, bringing the total value to $4 million. Official confirmation is still pending completion of a physical.
The 30-year-old infielder will return to familiar turf in Washington after spending the first half of the 2018 season there. He was dealt to the Cardinals in late August for cash considerations and finished the season batting a collective .239/.309/.477 with a career-high 21 home runs, .786 OPS and 0.8 fWAR through 337 plate appearances for the two National League clubs.
Despite his impressive display of power, Adams experienced a significant decline at the plate over the second half of the season, batting well under the Mendoza Line as the Cardinals pushed for a postseason berth against the division-winning Brewers and Wild Card-contending Cubs. Still, he saw enough early success in Washington to merit a second look and should provide a sturdy backup to Ryan Zimmerman at first base in 2019.