Padres’ Robby Snelling Focuses On Baseball Full Time

Robby Snelling struck an imposing presence on the mound for Reno’s McQueen High, but there was a purpose to the lefthander’s physique.

The two-sport star carried as many as 235 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame because the blue-chip football recruit needed that mass to play in the middle of the Lancers’ defense.

“When you’re playing football, the lifts are completely different,” Snelling said. “You’re padding your body for contact and hitting people. When it comes to baseball, you’ve got to loosen up so you’re more whippy.

“So the two positions I played were kind of butting heads.”

No more.

The 19-year-old had already decided on a future in baseball heading into the 2022 season. Snelling decommitted from plans to play both football and baseball at Arizona in order to follow former Nevada coach Jay Johnson to Louisiana State to focus on the diamond.

Those plans were also scrapped when the Padres selected Snelling with a supplemental first-round pick—39th overall—as one of four straight pitchers to begin the 2022 draft.

Snelling signed for $3 million but did not debut last summer. He focused on transforming his body and adding a changeup to a repertoire that includes a 94-96 mph fastball and the best curveball in the high school class.

Through nutritional and training changes, Snelling shaved some 10 pounds off a still very muscular frame. His changeup remains a work in progress, but the splitter-like offering has come a long way in a few short months.

It’s certainly a good start for a pitcher with enough arm talent that the Padres considered drafting him 15th overall last summer. His physicality, aptitude and the professionalism with which he is attacking his initial assignments as a pro lead many in the organization to believe he’ll be in Low-A Lake Elsinore early in 2023, if not right out of the gate.

And yes, there will still be a little bit of linebacker in Snelling when he arrives at The Diamond.


— The Padres believe catcher Ethan Salas, the 16-year-old bonus baby who signed in January, could move quickly. So much so that they brought him up for his Cactus League debut on March 11, allowing him to catch lefthanders Ryan Weathers and Jose Lopez and righthander Drew Carlton over the final four innings of a big league game against the White Sox. Salas grounded out in his only at-bat against righthander Frank German.

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