The Giants and Rangers swapped minor league left-handers yesterday, the Rangers receiving former Giant farm hand Ben Snyder, and the Giants receiving Edwin Escobar. The major difference between the two is that Ben Snyder is much older and much closer to being a major league pitcher entering the 2010 season.
Ben Snyder had a fine season at AA Connecticut last year, posting a 2.88 ERA with 86 Ks in 97 innings pitched as a reliever and spot starter. He missed some time in August when he was hit in the head with a line-drive in a game, much like Joe Martinez earlier in the year, although Snyder was not as seriously injured.
Snyder turns 25 on July 20th, and apparently the Giants didn’t think especially highly of him, because he was left off their 40-man roster this winter and was selected by the Orioles in the last Rule 5 Draft.
The O’s then traded Snyder to the Rangers. Snyder didn’t make the team out of Spring Training but the Rangers wanted to keep him, and obviously the Giants were willing to cut a deal.
Snyder has pitched well throughout his minor league career (2.98 minor league ERA), except for the second half of 2008, when he got hit pretty hard in his first time at the AA level. Snyder’s minor league ratios are good, and he’s still young enough that he’s got a good chance to have a major league career as a left-handed middle reliever. He was the Giants’ 4th round pick in the 2006 Draft.
As far as I can tell, the Giants like Edwin Escobar because he’s young. He’s only 18 this year.
He didn’t pitch particularly well in the Arizona League, a rookie league, last year at age 17 — 5.00 ERA, but he did have 48 Ks in 45 IP with a 3-to-1 Ks-to-BBs ratio. In other words, he’s a good young arm, but he has a long way to go.
Edwin’s biggest claim to fame at this point in his career is that he is related to Brewers’ shortstop Alcides Escobar and veteran pitcher Kelvim Escobar. Needless to say, that doesn’t mean much in terms of what kind of professional career Edwin has ahead of him.
Still, a lot of teams like to stockpile good young arms in the hopes that at least one or two of them will eventually develop into big stars. Again, needless to say, most of them either never find major league command or get hurt along the way.