Travis Snider is a beast. And if you'd be so kind as to allow me to blatantly rip-off Jordan Bastian's (a beast himself - the best MLB beat writer going) article for a few moments here, I'm about to tell you why.
Travis Snider's physical talents have scouts drooling - he's a middle of the order, 40 HR hitting, OPS generating, opposite field mashing, 22 year old bundle of talent. Prodigious talent. Don't forget that. 22 years old. He's ready to "arrive".
It wasn't too long ago (like, this week) that yours truly was open to thinking about the possibility that Snider miiiight be best served learning more ropes in AAA Vegas. I no longer subscribe to the group that discusses that theory. You see, what was holding me back (earlier) was Snider's reaction to being sent down in '09. Refused to take instruction. Wouldn't address it with the media. Skulked down to Vegas. Said just enough of the right things upon his recall to make us believe he'd turned the corner.
Well, guess what, friends. Now he's saying all the right things, and I believe him. Partly because I want to believe him. but mostly because he's so easy to believe.
"I reacted as a lot of 21-year-olds would," he said, "instead of being 'beyond my years,' as I've been told I am many times."
How's that grab ya'? When I was 21, I was cruising through a degree, yet to realize that actually applying myself was the key to a career.
"And I wasn't allowing the people around me to help, or being willing to listen and understand what people were trying to say. Not to say everything they say is right or wrong, but there's a message that's trying to be delivered to you, and if you block it out completely, you're not allowing yourself to grow as a person."
Whoah. Massive physical talents, now showing the ability to learn & adapt.
"Why would you give somebody a spot guaranteed after last year's performance?" Snider said. "I'm a pretty realistic person when it comes to self-evaluation. That is the situation, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to compete for a spot."
You see, that's it right there. Some of us, this offseason, have questioned aloud Alex Anthopoulos' challenge to Snider - that he has to earn a spot in the lineup, as an everyday contributor, or risk being sent to Vegas. Snider isn't questioning anything. He's accepted the challenge, and he is going to fucking rake.
"Murph has watched me swing now for four years," Snider said. "He has a pretty good feel for what I'm trying to accomplish every time I go into the cage and what he feels it should look like. We communicate well, and I think as a person, there's not too many people like Murph in the game. He's really easygoing about things.
Don't underestimate this. Young Travis now has a champion in his corner - someone he can relate to, someone who knows him. Someone who can push Snider from "prospect" to "cornerstone".
(And if you think the above was filled with hyperbole - you're goddamned right it was. It's cold outside. Spring training is a few weeks away. Everyone/everything is pointing to a 4th/5th place AL East finish. I need something. Who better than the org's top young player? Building.)