Former Chicago Dogs starting pitcher D.J. Snelten has signed with the Chicago Cubs organization, according to a post on his Twitter account.
Snelten, a 28-year-old southpaw, is from Lindenhurst, IL. He was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 30th round of the 2010 MLB Draft, but he didn't sign. After his junior year at the University of Minnesota, he was drafted again, this time in the ninth round of the 2013 MLB draft by the San Francisco Giants. Snelten had a cup of coffee with the Giants in 2018. He tossed 4.1 IP with a 10.38 ERA, 4 K, and 3 BB.
In 2019, Snelten signed with the Chicago Dogs of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. He put up strong numbers throughout that 2019 season: 7-3 record, 118.1 IP, 3.12 ERA, 112 K, and 43 BB. Snelten ended the season in style with a 3-0 record, 1.24 ERA, and 44 K across 43.2 IP, culminating in him earning pitcher of the month honors for the AA in August 2019.
Snelten became a free agent when that season ended and saw his stock rise after he synced up with FlatGround Pitching from Rob Friedman (The Pitching Ninja). Snelten went to work on his mechanics and saw the results show up on the radar gun.
This jump in velocity helped earn him a minor-league contract and a Spring Training invite from the Tampa Bay Rays. Sadly, Spring Training and minor league baseball were not what anyone hoped for in 2020, and we didn't really get to see what D.J.'s improved velocity translated to on the field. I think it speaks volumes that he was assigned to the Rays Alternate Training Site and not outright released.
Snelten has continued to work on mechanics through FlatGround and is now touching triple digits on his fastball. No bullpen can have too many guys who throw 100+, assuming the control is there.
The terms of his Cubs contract and Spring Training status are not yet known, but this is a high-upside signing. With the American Association announced as a partner league of MLB, this is hopefully only the beginning of more Chicago Cubs-Chicago Dogs connections to come.