Lost in the hubbub (but not to these eyes) of John Buck's Delgado-esque heroics and the ongoing theatrics of the AL's top power duo Vernon Wells and Alex Gonzalez (hey, we have to say these things while we can) have been sparks of life from the otherwise silent bat of Travis Snider.
Sample size alert! It's only been two games, but two doubles and a ding-dong (in memory of Jamie Campbell) give me hope that the most important bat in the Jays lineup may be starting to settle into a groove. A few points:
No player's struggles bring me more mental anguish than those of Travis Snider. His is a heavy burden to bear - he's long been seen as a focal point of the rebuilding offence, and many of us (present company definitely included) have taken for granted that he would indeed grow into the big mashing middle of the order raker that every contending ballclub requires.
Simply put - those dudes are hard to come by and are not easily replaced. And by living (and dying) on that assumption, every fastball that Snider can't quite catch up to brings on a mild case of angina.
And then I remind myself that he's 22 years old. He's learning how to be a professional baseball player on a stage where every flaw, every "not quite ready" skill is magnified. He's too good to fail. By all accounts, he's too driven. Cats that put balls into upper decks don't have slow bats; the missed fastballs are a sign of something else - and lest I pretend to be a professional baseball scout, I'm working on the assumption that it's something correctable.
Just like our man eyebleaf believes in Vernon Wells, I believe in Travis Snider. He'll figure it out. It's not like he & the Jays don't have a little time on their hands.
Fuel to the fire - The Adeiny Hechavarria Hype Machine
Since the (not so) splashy intro, we haven't heard much concerning the future and greatest shortstop (since Tony Fernandez, natch) for the Blue Jays. Until today, that is, with this beauty of a nugget from the Post's John Lott:
Meanwhile, Anthopoulos said he has received glowing reports on shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, the Cuban defector who signed a US$10-million contract a few weeks ago.
Hechavarria, 21, wowed Jays’ officials in a recent extended spring training game.
“He went 3-for-4 with a triple off the wall, a double and a single and played really good shortstop,” Anthopoulos said. “It’s only extended [spring training], but it’s pretty exciting to read the game reports. They said he made an outstanding sliding catch to his right, got up and fired a seed to first base.”
Yes, yes, and yes. More, please.