Travis Snider: Will He Ever Succeed with the Blue Jays?

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Travis Snider: Will He Ever Succeed with the Blue Jays?

For a 23-year-old kid, Travis Snider has really been the focal point of Blue Jays chatter. He came to the Blue Jays with a solid pedigree and instantly became a top prospect in the organization. 

So far in his career, he has been up and down a million times and everyone knows he must be having some confidence issues. At time he has looked lost at the plate in the majors and goes down to rake in the minors (granted it is the Pacific Coast League). 

The main thing that Blue Jays management wants Snider to work on while down in AAA is his line drive rate. Moreover, Snider cannot hit curveballs. I decided to hit up texasleagues.com to get some evidence from Snider's trouble hitting different pitches from 2010 and 2011:

At bat results (%)                                       2011                                     2010                    

Strikeout                                                  27.72                                       24.76 

Groundout                                              17.82                                       17.24

Single                                                      12.38                                       13.48

 

Flyout                                                      12.87                                       10.97

Lineout                                                  1.98                                         6.90

Walk                                                        4.95                                         5.96

Home Run                                              1.49                                         4.39

 

                                                    2011 Pitch Selection

Type

Count

Selection

Strike

Swing

Whiff

Foul

In Play

FF

268

34.7%

70.9%

56.0%

7.5%

31.0%

17.5%

SL

112

14.5%

67.9%

53.6%

19.6%

20.5%

13.4%

CU

92

11.9%

63.0%

45.7%

15.2%

16.3%

14.1%

CH

89

11.5%

60.7%

50.6%

21.3%

10.1%

19.1%

FT

75

9.7%

61.3%

45.3%

4.0%

22.7%

18.7%

FC

56

7.3%

55.4%

42.9%

7.1%

19.6%

16.1%

SI

39

5.1%

66.7%

56.4%

7.7%

30.8%

17.9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     2010 Pitch Selection

Type

Count

Selection

Strike

Swing

Whiff

Foul

In Play

FF

489

41.6%

66.5%

53.4%

13.1%

25.4%

14.9%

CH

172

14.6%

62.8%

50.6%

16.3%

12.2%

22.1%

SL

146

12.4%

65.1%

54.8%

15.1%

21.9%

17.8%

CU

115

9.8%

60.9%

44.3%

15.7%

15.7%

13.0%

FT

85

7.2%

62.4%

45.9%

3.5%

17.6%

24.7%

SI

62

5.3%

61.3%

48.4%

6.5%

16.1%

25.8%

 

 

FF: Four-seam Fastball SL: Slider CU: Curveball CH: Change-up

FT: Two-seam Fastball FC: Cut Fastball SI: Sinker

To many who have watched Travis over the years see that it is evident that Snider has had trouble hitting off-speed pitches. Yet although these tables show balls in play they do not show line drive percentages. Snider needs to work on his swing to avoid looking silly at the plate against off speed pitches because a near 20% Whiff is not going to cut it for the Blue Jays on Sliders, Curveballs and Change-ups.

He needs to become a much tougher out. Focusing on hitting the ball with purpose and hitting line drives is what he needs to work on down in Las Vegas. If he hits line drives, the XBH and HRs will come.

The problems with Snider’s statistics are that they don’t paint the full picture. If you look at his line from July 4 to Aug 4 (his most recent call-up) they don’t look too bad:

                                         24 Games: 26 Hits, 18 RBI*, 33 K

* However Snider had two 5-RBI games which makes up 55% of his RBI total

 

He also hit 10 XBH (9 Doubles, 1 HR) in his first 11 games. However he only hit 1 XBH in his final 11 games which showed that he was not squaring up on the ball. This is primarily why Snider got demoted (coupled with Lawrie’s call-up and the Rasmus trade).

Snider’s walk rate has decreased every year and his strikeouts increased this year. Granted, as poor a season as he was having this year, if you translate his stats over a full season (162 games) his line would be:

           162 GP: 76 R  138.8 H   46 2B   9.9 HR   99 RBI   36 BB   185 K    29.75 SB

Considering he has played terribly, has not connected on any power, (which has always been a force of his game) and struck out at an alarming rate, these are still very decent numbers.

Give Snider some time, let him regain his confidence and understand how to be a professional hitter and battle each at bat.

Toronto, do not give up on this prospect too early. As recent as early April, minorleagueball.com stated: “My personal take is that Snider will make the needed adjustments and rake… I expect him to be one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball for at least a few years” Everyone knew that he would have some issues early on: “a few growing pains are likely inevitable… [But] he was still one of the best offensive prospects in the game”

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