Tampa Bay Rays star and Cy Young hurler Blake Snell swept pitcher Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox on Sunday to claim the inaugural MLB The Show Players League title in dominating fashion.
Snell claimed the best-of-five World Series 5-1, 3-2, 6-0 on his way to winning 26 of his final 29 matchups overall. Snell lost just once over his three playoff series.
For a player who is steadfastly stingy on the real mound, Snell posted a league-leading 145 runs during the regular season of the Players League.
“Usually I’m super-aggressive in this league,” Snell told MLB.com regarding his approach at the plate going into the third game. “But facing Lucas, I know he’s getting a lot better, and I knew I had to be a lot more patient. Once he starts to learn how to hit better, he’s gonna be nasty. I was happy I was able to play him now, because he’s gonna be really good.”
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“I haven’t faced many hitters like Blake,” Giolito added. “He just sees the ball really well. It was an offensive onslaught, and it was too much to overcome. He’s very, very good at this.”
Bo Bichette wins ‘Best Twitch Name’
Snell got off to a fast start in the Series, slugging a leadoff home run with Willy Adames in Game 1 against Giolito. He followed that up with HRs by Mike Zunino and Austin Meadows to cruise to the 5-1 win.
Though Snell took the title, he did not win the Best Player Award. That went to Joey Gallo, the No. 2 seed who suffered a stunning upset at the hands of seventh-seeded Ian Happ in the quarterfinals. Gallo earned 39.8 percent of the fan vote and 10 from his fellow competitors. Snell came in second.
Gallo also earned Best Cameo for his own virtual player slugging 13 home runs in 48 at-bats and posting a 1.814 OPS.
The Best Twitch Name went to Bo Bichette’s “BoFlows” nickname. Bichette took 24.8 percent of the fan vote and six from his peers.
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Dwight Smith Jr. of the Orioles took home Best Manager award for doing more with less. Smith finished 19-10 and qualified for the postseason despite an O’s team with a 69 overall rating. Smith earned 34.2 of the fan vote and eight player votes.
Brett Phillips of the Kansas City Royals won Most Entertaining Streamer despite not winning the fan vote; Aaron Hicks won In-Game MVP after mashing 14 home runs and a 2.369 OPS in 29 regular-season games for teammate Tommy Kahnle, how represented the Yankees in the tournament.
Best Reaction goes to Rhys Hoskins of the Phillies and Cole Tucker of the Pirates. In their game, Tucker told Hoskins that he would name his first-born child after him if he hit a home run in his next at-bat. Hoskins sent the next pitcher into the left-field seats.