Tuesday, March 8, 2011

He Just Needs to Play

Before Travis Snider took over the world as The One True Twitter Follow and Consumer of All Meats, he was just another up-and-coming hitting phenom. Emphasis on phenom.

The jury, as they say, is still out on Snider at the big league hitter. If you're a naive fool, I say. Snider's shown me things at the plate I don't think I'll forget, I just want to see him get the right number of reps. Injuries and stubbornness stood in the way of that, derailing what looked like a Snider breaking out last May. He really seemed to get his offense going and down he went.

It made me think - Snider doesn't seem like a streaky hitter to me, most like a guy that builds and builds and suddenly you look down and he has 25 home runs and his OPS is over .900. So I took to the spreadsheets and internets and here we go.

Taking a cue from the great series on player volatility for Beyond the Box Score by Bill Petti, I then used Devil Finger's linear weights to calculate Snider's wOBA for rolling 10-day periods throughout the 2010 season. It was fun, let me tell you. The results are below (click to enlarge).

That looks, pretty much, exactly how I expected. Snider scuffled then made incredible progress, then fell off. It took him a while after returning from injury but eventually posted some big numbers to finish the season1.

By the grace of God Snider stays healthy enough to get a full season of at bats in 2011. He is only human so he will obviously slump, but avoiding the lulls and timing required to get back on track are really important for the Jays in 2011 and beyond. Beyond, like what beyond. That's what we're talking about here. Right?

Thanks to Beyond the Box Score for the inspiration and Matt Klaasen for the linear weights yeoman's work. The game data came from Fangraphs. Buy a shirt yo.


  1. Crazy optimist talk here...

    Let's say Snider breaks out. And I mean .900 OPS, 30-40 HR breakout.

    Combine him with one (or two) of Lind, Hill and Escobar reverting to 2009 production (Escobar and Lind are best bets, IMO), and the other(s) falling in between 2009-2010.

    Let's say the rotation is healthy, and doesn't take a step back, and Bautista puts up above-average offensive numbers (say .850 OPS with 25+ HR).

    What do you get? I see Snider as a lynch-pin. If he blows up, I could see our dream of "meaningful games in September" come true this season.

    Call me crazy.

  2. I agree with you Andy.
    Even if I did unfollow you on Twitter.

    Offence will dictate amount of wins this season, because everyone knows our pitching (starting and relieving) will take a step forward and be even better.

    Look for Romero to make some serious noise! Halladay type numbers in terms of innings, wins, CGs. Hopefully, he can get that BB/9 under 3 and we're looking at a special season.

  3. "Even if I did unfollow you".

    - Haha. My twitter feed gained innumerable IQ points after I blocked you, dumb ass.

  4. Thanks for the plug, Drew. Sold another shirt today!

  5. uhh, not to hawk my spectacularly shitty blog, but i talked about Snider a few days ago...and uh yeah, heres the link. Not feelin the sunshne and roses...


    Hopefully the link works...and dont get me wrong, i love the guy, its just... well you'll see.

  6. I think Snider's a prime breakout candidate as well...but Brad Fullmer hit some balls ridiculously hard as well. It's all about whether he can keep those holes plugged. He's barely 23, so I like his chances.

  7. I see your point Dawson but it is worth noting Snider still hasn't registered 400 PAs in a single season while your comp had more than 1700 by the end of his third season.

    Not to mention Snider's swing rate didn't really increase by much while his swinging strike rate is actually decreasing. He made a ton of contact outside the zone in 2010 though he swung at fewer "bad balls" in 2010 than his magical callup of 2008.

    In other words, it is still too early to tell. The man needs reps, nothing more, nothing less.

  8. I agree with you completely Drew.

    It drives me nuts when I hear people talk about Travis and call him a bust prospect. Especially on the radio.

    *Cough* John Shannon is a moron *Cough*

  9. What if Lind-Bautista-Snider average around a .365wOBA as Bill James predicts, and Escobar/Hill come back close to their .357 wOBA from 2009, well certainly our offense would be a bit of a juggernaut. Perhaps not by AL East measures, but surely by any other.

    'Tis the season.

  10. I was playing MLB 11 and Snider came up to bat and the announcers started talking about how he had lost some of his lustre and some people thought it was basically put up or shut up time for him. He is 23 years old!

    That coupled with the horrible flashback I had when Cito emerged from the dugout during the game almost made me return it...


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