Grading 2023 KC Royals: Collin Snider contributes to season-long bullpen issues

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In 2023, the KC Royals set a new franchise record by deploying 36 pitchers throughout the season. One of these pitchers was Collin Snider, a 28-year-old reliever.

Snider made his MLB debut early in the 2022 season and pitched in 42 games for the Royals. He gained recognition for his ability to successfully handle inherited runners, earning him the nickname 'The Fireman.' However, his performance declined as the season progressed. He started strongly for the Royals, but unfortunately, his performance declined as the season progressed. 2023 offered a fresh slate, one where the Royals needed their internal options to step up.

The KC Royals needed relievers. How did Collin Snider step up?

Snider started the 2023 season with the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers. He did not perform well in those opening 27 games. He had an earned run average (ERA) of 6.59, fielding independent pitching (FIP) of 5.18, and an average of 6.26 walks per nine innings (BB/9). Despite his struggles, the Royals decided to give Snider another chance at the major league level. His first callup only lasted five games, where Snider pitched in 4 2/3 innings. It went as badly as possible, as evident by his 7.71 ERA and four walks to three strikeouts. His 4.54 FIP was palatable for a bullpen arm, but the results were just terrible.

Royals fans did not see Snider pitch in the MLB again until Aug. 25, after he spent more time in Triple-A. The results did not improve in Omaha, but Snider was "excited to be back and get another opportunity" in August.

“I worked on more strike-throwing, which kind of went with cleaning up my direction mechanically," Snider said. "(I was) working more linear toward the plate.”

Let's start with the positives from Snider's final 15 games with Kansas City last year. He recorded his first career save on Sept. 19 against the Cleveland Guardians. His MLB ERA dropped to 4.02, a big improvement from earlier in the season. But all that comes with continuing issues. His FIP ballooned to 6.45; he still walked more batters than he struck out; and allowing a .863 OPS out of the bullpen is not going to cut it.

How did Snider really perform then?

There are parts of Snider's game I like, but his lack of control hinders his MLB ceiling. He ended the season with -.3 fWAR, his second consecutive negative fWAR season. He needs to make significant improvements in order to have a career in the major leagues. He was spotted working with Tread Athletics this offseason, the group that helped revitalize Cole Ragans. Perhaps they can help him turn things around as well. But with his 2023 season in the books, Snider gets a D- from me.