05.18.05

Acclaim For Pitcher That Shut Down Benji Gill

Posted in Baseball at 4:51 pm by

The Mets’ Norfolk affiliate was no-hit this past Sunday, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Paul Meyer is tipping the young hurler in question for a bright future.

There are people in the Pirates’ front office — and some major-league scouts — who believe Ian Snell’s long-range major-league niche will be in the bullpen.

Snell (above), however, continued to advance his case that he should at least get some consideration as a big-league starter.

Snell, a right-hander, pitched a no-hitter Sunday against Class AAA Norfolk, giving Indianapolis a 4-0 victory at Victory Field.

Snell threw strikes with 72 of his 101 pitches, walked one and struck out nine in pitching the Indians’ first no-hitter since May 24, 1974 (Tom Carroll, who later pitched for Cincinnati).

“It was impressive,” Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett said. “His fastball was setting up his slider. He maybe threw 10 percent changeups. The changeup is the least [polished] of his three pitches, but it did have some effectiveness and he used it.

“This kid looks like a major-league starter to me — especially if that changeup keeps coming.”

The knock against Snell is his stamina. People think that at 5 feet 11 and 180 pounds he won’t have the strength to hold up as a big-league starter.

“Ian had amazing stuff [Sunday],” Indianapolis pitching coach Darold Knowles said. “He seemed to get stronger as the game went on. He kept his velocity in the mid-90 [mph range] the entire afternoon. Not too many guys have that kind of stamina.”

“There was nothing cheap about it,” Jewett said of the no-hitter. “And he pitched it against what I consider the second-best hitting team in [the International League behind Columbus]. Norfolk has some veteran hitters — Brian Daubach, Gerald Williams, Benji Gil. It was a great performance.”

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