Top 100 Split Decisions: Blake Snell (12) vs. Steven Matz (13)

We had some debates in our discussions to reach a consensus for the Top 100 Prospects. In a desire for transparency, we give you some of the tougher decisions and our rationale for the selection.

Lefthanders: Blake Snell (12) vs. Steven Matz (13)

John Manuel: Because Matz has major league time and pitched well in that time, I can see giving Steven Matz the edge. For me, it’s a matter of Blake Snell’s constant improvement in the minors with his breaking ball getting better and his control trending in the right direction. For me, he’s got the higher ceiling with the easy velocity, potential above-average breaker and plus changeup. Other advantages for Snell are age and lack of injury history though Matz’s TJ is far in the past. Both guys look like potential No. 2 starters to me.

J.J. Cooper: I appear to be the most optimistic about Matz’s health and future durability. He made 21 starts in 2013, 24 starts in 2014 and 27 starts in 2015 (counting the playoffs). The Mets have understandably been cautious with how they handle his workload but from 2013-2015, Matz has thrown 431 innings and Snell has thrown 348. If I’m sizing the two up, I think both have excellent stuff, but I would give the edge to Matz as having slightly better stuff. Matz has shown better control throughout his career than Snell. And Matz has gotten a chance to prove his stuff works very well against big leaguers. Add it up and as much as I like Snell, I’d rather have Matz, even if he’s a year and a half older.

Ben Badler: Matz has shown he can have success against major league hitters, both during the regular season and during the playoffs throughout the Mets’ run to the World Series. That’s certainly a point in his favor, but him pitching well on the big stage where everyone is watching him also makes him prone to being overrated, simply because everyone got to see him pitch and that memory is fresh in our minds. Snell hasn’t had that opportunity, but wow, did he have a dominant, historic season with a powerful repertoire. J.J. makes a good point about Matz’s arm health being cleaner the last few years than it was earlier in his career, but I’m harsh on pitchers and the medical history there still gives me pause when it comes to longevity. If I had to pick a pitcher just for 2016, I’d go with Matz. But long-term, give me Snell.

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