D.J. Snelten Sticks With What Works

Clearing his mind has produced clearly better results for 25-year-old lefthander D.J. Snelten.

A 2013 ninth-rounder out of Minnesota, Snelten worked both as a starter and reliever through 2016.

During that stretch, he said he would succumb to “overstudying mechanics, making changes when I didn’t have the results that I wanted.”

Snelten decided to take a more simplified outlook entering the 2017 season.

His mindset: “You know what? This is my approach. Let’s not let the season dictate how my mechanics are going to work. Instead, let’s see what happens when we flip that around.”

What happened was Snelten went 8-1, 2.20 at Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento. He struck out 71 and allowed 57 hits in 73.2 innings.

“He made our decision easier when it came time to think about the 40-man because we saw how far he had come,” general manager Bobby Evans said.

The Giants added Snelten to the 40-man roster in November. He returned to Sacramento in 2018. One bonus for Snelten with the River Cats: He’s reunited with pitching coach Steve Kline, the long-time big league lefty reliever who has worked with Snelten throughout his time in the organization.

“We’ve always been able to understand each other,” Snelten said.

Hitters, particularly lefthanded ones, can have a tough time understanding how to deal with Snelten. He limited lefties to a .158 average and two extra-base hits (both doubles) in 95 at-bats last year.

Snelten’s fastball sits in the low to mid-90s. He also employs a slider and changeup.

His effectiveness stems in part from a delivery that’s “not something that you can necessarily teach,” Evans said.

At 6-foot-6 and with a herky-jerky motion, Snelten is, in Evans’ words, “a master of the arm angle and deception.”

Evans said he’d like Snelten to get a full season at Triple-A. Whatever happens in 2018, you figure Snelten will try to avoid excessive tinkering.

“I didn’t change anything last year,” he said, “and I found it just a complete different level of ease.”


Julian Fernandez had Tommy John surgery on April 5 and will miss the 2018 season. The Giants selected the triple-digits Dominican reliever from the Rockies.

>> The oldest player on the Sacramento roster was infielder Chase d’Arnaud, 31. The older brother of Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud has spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues.

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