Monday, May 4, 2009

Wring Out the Funsponge

I decided against predictions before this season started as they're a good way to look like an idiot. I have no problem doing that on a daily basis, no need to fuel the fire. I did go out on a limb with one clear forecast among my nebulous stabs in the dark:
Travis Snider will have a good season and spend time in Vegas.
Sadly, I feel the time has come for Sniderman to spend a couple weeks gathering himself in America's preeminent adult playground outlet mall epicenter.

You may say "Vegas? He won't learn to control the strikezone or improve his pitch recognition when everything he wheels on flies out of the park!" You'd be right, to an extent. The situation seems very, very familiar. Almost as though the Jays went through it with Carlos Delgado in 1994. Ahh, those were the strike-shortened days. King Carlos started the season like house on fire, clubbing 8 tater tots in the April. The signs of trouble were evident though, as Carlos did almost all his damage before April 20th and didn't hit one double until his home runs dried up.

Right now, Travis Snider is scuffling. He's not making great contact, flying out too much, and generally doing too little at the plate. Going into tonight's (Monday) game; his BB/K is down to 0.43, lower than Delgado's 1994 mark. His line drive rate has shrunk to 11% with his GB/FB sitting even at "way too fucking high." Even his rate of home runs per fly ball is getting a little on the low side (for a clear-cut power hitter.) The strangest fact is one I wasn't prepared for: he's almost stopped striking out. Snider's only struck out 3 times in the past 8 games. Encouraging, no? Except that he only has one walk over that span and a mere three line drives. Hrm.

Maybe I'm overreacting? Perhaps Travis Snider is one slight adjustment away from returning to a state of constant mash. What does the contact information suggest? Travis Snider doesn't get cheated, that much is for sure. The second swingingest guy on the team behind Rod "Youkilis" Barajas. One key difference between Rod and Snider: contact. Travis Snider swings at almost the same percentage of pitches outside the zone but only hits 44% of them, by far the lowest on the team. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe he's being fooled by offspeed pitches (he's seeing a lot) and getting himself into 2 strike holes? Perhaps Snider became wary of his strikeout numbers, shortened up to avoid the Ks and now fancies himself some sort of budget-Ichiro? God, I hope not.

The million dollar question remains: while he may be out of sorts at the big league level, what will Travis Snider learn from a month or two in AAA? I encourage you to correct me if I'm wrong, but AAA pitchers are more likely to be journeyman junkballers hoping for a spot-start than the live-but-raw-armed prospects of the lower minor leagues. Doubly true in the PCL, where errant fastballs go to die. Let Snider work on his pitch recognition or whatever you want to call it, rebuild the confidence Cito's failed to imbue in him by forcing him to bunt and sit against lefties and off you go. To me; Snider's yet to enter the "nothing left to prove at AAA" stage.

This isn't what I want, I love to watch Snider play. He's actually impressed me in the field and he seems to be a good soldier that enjoys a good walkoff mosh. But he needs to sort some stuff out at the plate. If the Jays continue to play well and compete, can we honestly justify him learning on the job at the expense of the team? I know it's too early to suggest such things, but why not bring up some outfield stiff (or Buck fucking Coats for laughs) and let Millar DH until his bat runs cold. Maybe even slow down Snider's clock a little bit, just for fiduciary shits and giggles. Let's just make get him right, sooner rather than later. It worked out for Delgado, didn't it?

Image courtesy of Daylife thievery corporation


  1. This is a tough one. Am I loathe to him going down to Vegas? No. Clearly he has work to do. Do I mind if he stays, and works on his game up here? Not at all. I don't know, I'm in the minority, but I've no problem with him bunting, and sitting against lefties right now. The offence is a big reason why we are atop the AL East right now, and Snider, bunting and sitting against lefties, is a part of that offence. If he continues to scuffle and doesn't start showing a little more patience at the plate, you're probably right, it's time to viva down to LV.

    Oh, and I love the "Sniderman needs to practice on some low-level villains before taking on the Green Goblin" tag. Your tags are dope.

    And that base two-out, two-run base hit by Bautista tonight in the 9th? That was for you.

  2. BUT if there is one thing you can look forward to...

    Cecil is the projected starter tomorrow. How that didn't make this site turn into glitter and bright colors for a whole week blows my mind.


  3. I'm with your EBL, if he stayed up all year, I wouldn't be too upset. I'm just wondering if it isn't best for everyone involved for Sniderman to get some reps in a lower pressure environment. The reasons to keep him up and send him down are equal yet opposite. We shall see

  4. I'd reckon that keeping Snider in close proximity to Cito and Gino is probably better for his development than a trip to Vegas.

  5. This may be interesting to the statisticians out there regarding our friendly neighbourhood Sniderman: (It's a good prospect site in general - one of the few non-Blue Jays fans who couldn't understand the lack of Brett Cecil love amongst baseball publications, especially compared to David Price)

    Basically, he anticipated Snider would strike out and struggle quite a bit at least for his first years in the majors because of his lack of Isolated Power.

    The money quote: His strikeout rate of 26% isn't extremely high, but it's too high for a guy with a .214 ISOP in the minors. In order to overcome such a high K%, a hitter needs to post an ISOP somewhere in the .250 range at Snider's age.


Send forth the witticisms from on high