Friday, October 9, 2009

Don't rush to judgment on Travis Snider

One of the comments that has stuck with us over the past week or so was someone taking a shot at Travis Snider in a defense of Cito. The notion seems to be that Snider had a lousy season, so how dare he question the tactics and decision of the great, sainted, beknighted Cito Gaston.

(That's Mr. Cito, who has not managed a team to a winning record over a full season since 1993...but we digress.)

It does strike us that some of the gleam has dimmed off of the rosy-cheeked masher of the future, now that fans have had a chance to see him for 101 big league games. People seem to focus on his (arguably) bad defense or his propensity to strike out. And his .748 OPS over a half-season certainly wasn't bringing forth choruses of hallelujahs from on high.

But as we watch the playoffs and see some of the premier players in the league, we're reminded to think of where those big name mashers were in the age 21 seasons.

Matt Holliday was playing high A ball in Salem. Mark Teixiera was finishing his college career at Georgia Tech. Joe Mauer, Vladimir Guerrero and Derek Jeter were getting their first taste of the majors in a handful of games. Kendry Morales was somewhere between Cuba and Rancho Cucamonga. Bobby Abreu was hitting 10 homers over a full season at AAA Tuscon. Todd Helton was hitting one homer over 54 games for the Asheville Tourists.

The player that we've pegged as most analogous to Snider over the past couple of years is Lance Berkman, and at 21, he was tearing up the Florida State League for Kissimmee. And Carlos Delgado, the greatest offensive player in the history of the Jays, was 24 before his manager (a certain Mr. Gaston) would give him enough playing time to hit 25 homers and drive in 92.

The point is that Snider still has time to develop into the player we think he can be. He'll need to be given enough latitude to develop, and we can't expect him to put up 100 RBI seasons immediately. But within the next two-to-three years, Snider has the potential to make the patience of Blue Jay fans pay off.

47 comments:

Paul McCartney said...

JET!!

Jeff said...

And while he strikes out a ton, he also walks a ton and has developed a keen eye at the plate. The kind of eye that Aaron Hill may never have. Not a shot at Hill, but players can still have good seasons and avoid long 0-for stretches if they're patient hitters and draw enough walks. The fact that Snider has figured out patience at the plate at a MLB level (at age 21 no less) is promising.

Jesse said...

Now, time in professional ball (as opposed to college or highschool) has gotta be worth something.

But I think this was, in general, an excellent point.

infieldfly said...

I'm shocked to hear that people are taking shots at Snider. When I see Snider mash a pitch, I see his future. When I see Snider struggle, I see a 21-year-old kid learning the ropes. I guess I assumed that's what everyone saw.

Tao of Stieb said...

In fact, Snider looked a lot more patient as the year went on. He drew 14 walks in the Sept/Oct., and 15 in the rest of the season. So he was getting it.

The Ack said...

You just have to shake your head at comments you read, like "Snider can't catch up to a major league fastball."

If Cito's back, he'd better not fuck this up.

Anonymous said...

Where exactly are these comments/arguments coming from? I haven't read any myself so if you dont provide examples its just another straw-man argument for the sake of a post.

Sven the Swede said...

In a couple of years there will be periods in which Snider will destroy every pitch. I really hope the Jays are smart enough to have at least one dude who can constantly get on base infront of him. George Brett; second half of 85 mashing.

I only have one worry with Snider and his long-term future: Bill James used to write about a player having Old Player Skills (lots of walks, Ks, below average D, limited speed) and that these players had limited room for improvement and didn't age well. If anyone has a better definition, please share.

Now, the dude's 21, he's got loads of time to be awesome before he starts to really pack on the pounds.

But, I have a feeling that in about 10 years when the Yankees or Sox try to sign him to a massive contract, he might go downhill really fast.

My next prediction will be guestimating the number of Pilsner I'll drink over the long weekend.

Some Corb:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr0lSEACCHg&feature=related

Darren Priest said...

The only negative comment re: Snider that I've seen was from Cito. Then again, I rely on this site to tell me what to think.

Darren Priest said...

The only negative comment re: Snider that I've seen was from Cito. Then again, I rely on this site to tell me what to think.

eyebleaf said...

The comparisons are all one needs to feel at ease about Travis Snider. And recollections of his opposite field home runs. He will be fine, Cito or not. (I'm hoping not.)

I believe that Travis Snider will play playoff games in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform. Along with Adam Lind and Aaron Hill.

I Miss The Toronto Phantoms said...

Don't forget Vernon!

The Ack said...

Priesty, that's a perfectly reasonable course of action. Stay the course, man.

A tonne of negative Snider comments on the DJF game threads, and they're starting to pop up here as well (mostly to counter any anti-Cito sentiments being expressed....I'm looking at you, Joanna!)

Drew - LtB said...

If you ever need to find negative, kneejerk reactions to reference; just hit the comment section of any website that gets more than 2000 hits a day. Problem solved.

Remember when people were down on Lind at this time last year?

REAN said...

I've said it before - speaking from experience - his back scares the poop outta me. Hopefully, he'll only miss a handful of games over the length of his contract with the Jays, but if he has some kind of serious back problem, then he could miss a week or two every time he sneezes the wrong way.

Just sayin' s'all...

Jeff said...

"(lots of walks, Ks, below average D, limited speed)"

Sounds like Adam Dunn to me.







(I made a collective decision not to include any Dunn-gate jokes)

Tao of Stieb said...

@ Jeff

A collective decision with yourself?

(Says the guy who still uses "we" in his posts.)

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Snider? He's a league average hitter with under a full season of MLB experience at the age of 21. That's awesome.

And yeah, he can't catch up to the fastball, he has to take it the other way for an HR. Useless!

Tao of Stieb said...

@ Anonymous Straw Man

This is exactly the comment I was thinking of:

"Has Snider done anything to earn a job next year??? NO!

On Cito:
"Years later, Shawn Green would say: 'Now I understand what you were trying to do,' and Alex Gonzalez came up a few years ago saying: 'I know now what you were talking about."

LOLOLHHAHAHAH

Guess what internet Hacks. Cito might know something about raising ball players."

Also, from Joanna:

"Travis Snider told Jamie Campbell that he doesn't like being coached in the middle of the game. That is perhaps what Cito is referring to. And frankly, if Travis doesn't like being coached mid-game, he should hit the ball in the game. He's a rookie. He's 21. Do what you're told."

Peter D said...

It's my first visit to this site, nice job!

I read a few articles and have some thoughts that may pertain to more than this blogs, so I apologize if I go a bit off topic.

1. While on the surface it seems Brad Arnsberg is a great pitching coach, you have got to wonder about all those pitching injuries under his reign. This same thing happened when he was in Florida.

2. I'm not so sure about JP as a great talent evaluator, yes Lind, Hill and Snider look pretty good, however, there is a much longer list of players that had me questioning his ability to evaluate talent, some of these guys included; Jason Arnold, John Ford Griffin, Eric Hinske, Luke Prokopec, Brian Cooper, Bobby Kielty, Kevin Mench, Brad Wilkerson, Victor Zambrano, etc.

3. I haven't heard many people suggest that Snider has been or is a bust. I think most people realize that he is only 21 and has shown some very good upside.

4. Cito has got to go, I can't think of one reason why the team should keep a guy who is not in the long term plans, lost the clubhouse, has never shown the ability to manage a young team, etc.

Gay Jays Fan said...

I had an anonymous straw man taking me on all fours yesterday. I haven't been able to hold my shit all day!

Tao of Stieb said...

@Peter D

Of the list that you have provided, most of those players were low-risk roster fillers.

Prokopec got hurt. Hinske was productive until he had one too many poutines. Kielty was flipped for Ted Lilly, who was good.

And Brian Cooper? Really? Holy shit, dude. That's really picking an old scab. And don't forget that the Jays were mostly looking to get rid of Fullmer at that point.

Joanna said...

Sigh, boys. I have no doubt Travis Snider will grow into a wonderful big league hitter. But he isn't there, yet. My comment quoted above was not a slight at Travis Snider's ability, but rather the idea that he should be left to his own devices right now. He might have flaws in his swing and if he gets into the habit of doing them, he could be wrecked for ever.

Joanna said...

And stop looking at me, Ack.

The Ack said...

Listening to one of the final games of the year on the radio, Ashby very pointedly said that as a player, he hated getting batting tips during games, as it messed with his head and he was thinking too much during his AB's.

It works for Lind, and that's great, but it evidently does not for Snider. Cito taking subtle potshots at the kid in the media (I'll try to look up the quote, but it centered around Lind being great and "coachable" because he could actually talk to him during games....in direct contrast to earlier quotes he made about Snider not wanting tips during games....) is, in my opinion, ridiculous, and the sort of thing that contributes to "losing the clubhouse".

eyebleaf said...

Drew said it best, yo:

Remember when people were down on Lind at this time last year?

brainiac said...

High strikeouts and few walks mean he needs to be more selective...high strikeouts and high walks mean he cant hit the pitches he swings at. Which could be bad. But ya know...21 and all...


And I agree...listen to Cito. He's not a great manager overall IMHO, but man, he knows hitting.

Joanna said...

It might not work for Snider because he hasn't tried it and being left to his own devices hasn't worked yet either. Patience is great, but Travis needs to be patient, too.

Joanna said...

And he might have just been answering a reporter's question like "Why don't you try with Snider what you do with Lind?"

And Jamie Campbell said Travis told him he doesn't like being coached in the game. No Cito, Travis.

Jeff said...

"A collective decision with yourself?"

It takes a team to keep this ship going.

Tao of Stieb said...

Well, if your player is open to coaching but doesn't want to hear it in the middle of a game, why be so insistent on getting in his head?

Just leave him be! Leave Travis alone!

Peter D said...

Stieb,

99% of Ricciardi's moves were low risk roster fillers.

I could go on with more players like his drafting 1st and 2nd round picks like Russ Adams, Curtis Thigpen, David Purcey, Josh Banks, Kevin Ahrens, David Cooper, Zach Jackson and even Rickey Romero taken 6th overall ahead of Tulowitzki, McCutchen, Maybin and Bruce will look pretty silly.

Don't get me wrong, I think JP has been unfairly criticized more than anyone, however, I'm not sold on the fact that he was a great evaluator of talent. If he was, his legacy would be more than Hill and Lind.

I will give him that a couple of pitchers may yet develop into quality guys. Particularly I like Cecil and Rzchechoslavakiagretzky. Romero, I would deal at this moment, because I don't think his value will ever be higher.

Brian Tallet's Cock Cheese said...

8 years of Retardi and we have Hill and Lind to show for it.

Retardi may end up being responsible for the death of baseball in Toronto.

But the Dumb of Stieb and The Ack Crap and that fat ass Wilner look down on Jays fans cause we are too stupid to see what a genius JP was.

The irony was a real man like Dave Stieb was have grabbed JP by his nose and took a shit down his condescening throat a long time ago.

How does the Tao of Ohka, Thomson and Zambrano sound like for this blog?

Stedron said...

Is Peter D really Griffin? Do we really have to do the Romero/Tulowitzki dance?

Peter D said...

Stedron,

No reason to resort to name calling. Speaking of Griffin, I sent him an email in response to his latest column about how the Jays should model themselves after the Twins. I pointed out the following Jays and Twins divisional records over the last two years:

Twins vs. AL East 23-44
Jays vs. AL Central 47-27

eyebleaf said...

Romero/Tulowitzki is almost as worse as still hearing some fucking Jays fans mention Chris Carpenter. Almost.

Brian Tallet's Cock Cheese said...

Especially when we see what a clusterfuck the Jays SS position is and will continue to be because JP could not develop a SS in EIGHT years.

Especially when TT is raking and baking in the Mountains.

But of course JP dittoheads never get tired of mentioning the Hillenbrand for Accardo trade.

Peter D said...

My Personal favourite was taking Russ Adams just ahead of Kazmir, Swisher and Hamels.

The Ack said...

The Jays were just fine at SS this year with Scutaro. And who plays SS for the Red Sox? What's the Yanks contingency plan if Jeter goes down?

And you can't look at picks like that. You can't always take the best player. You take the guy you can sign, the guy ownership will give you the dollars to sign. And hope it doesn't turn into a clusterfuck like this year's draft.

eyebleaf said...

Hindsight is just the hardest thing ever, isn't it boys? Fuck.

No other GM ever made a mistake in the draft. Only JP.

Peter D said...

Yes, but a person who's is supposed to be a great evaluator of talent sure made a lot of mistakes during the draft. I do concede Acks point in regards to dollars, as Kazmir was passed over for exactly that reason.

The thing that got me about Adams was that after the draft, Ricciadi identified his ceiling to be a player like to Walt Weiss. I couldn't understand at the time why you would use your first round pick on a player with such a limited ceiling. As well, this was a guy with no speed, no power and couldn't play defense, what exactly was exciting about him.

I'll end the JP negativity there, because I actually do think he is a capable GM that has a lot of bad luck, and unfair press. I think he will do well if given another chance.

Anonymous said...

People are already calling Snider a bust? He's 21 people! He did quite well for his age at the MLB level.

As for the Big Puma comparison, is it strange for me to say that Snider reminds me more of Jim Thome? I find the way Snider plays very similarly to Thome IMO.

Parker said...

Anyone who is a major league regular who hits close to 100 OPS+ at age 21 actually has a pretty good chance of being a Hall of Famer for a couple reasons: 1) he's in the majors at such a young age that he gets a big head start on counting stats, and 2) if he's this good already, he will likely be an absolute fucking monster from age 25-32. Snider's on his way.

Mylegacy said...

Chill children.

Mrs. Sniders's rosy cheeked baby boy Travis is gonna mash, with or whithout the esteemed Mr Gaston.

Steve G. said...

For what it's worth, PECOTA had Snider around a .276 to .284 EQA range for his age 23 to age 27 seasons, and projected him at a .268 EQA if he played this year. His actual EQA was .255 in 276 PAs, which seems close enough to me. And since he's just 21, I think there is a significant chance that he develops more and more power as he ages.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Internet was around for Delgado's first season, what kind of posts we'd see about how he did that year..

SP said...

I was just reading through the comments and I was going to say something exactly like what anon 12:04 said before he stole my thought. It's as simple as that--the Internet ruins everything. The more people that start populating a site, the more retards that fall through the cracks (see: DJF, and now here as well. You're next Drew!)

Travis Snider is going to be fine. He hits opposite field HRs y'all!