Friday, July 22, 2011

This is Going Swimmingly

The Kid Stays in the Middle of the Picture
There isn't a better description of the "Travis Snider to Centerfield" experiment better than the way Stoeten of Drunk Jays Fans presents it - if a commenter or Jays Talk caller suggested it, I would trip over myself trying to shoot it down. What? Snider in center??? THAT'S CRAZY TALK!

Yet here we are. The husky kid some worried might only be DH down the road started two of the last three games in centerfield. And the results, they aren't terrible!

The ball stung right at you is really tough to judge. Snider does well to take a decent route and add the stylish "lunge-dive" at the end for style. Like all good centerfielders do.

Snider's arm and positioning drew raves all season in left after his work with Jose Bautista, will it hold up in CF?

Not the strongest throw of all time but he got rid of it quickly and right on the money. I like the way he just powered off his back leg, not much of a crow hop to eat up valuable seconds.

While this catch stretches my "highlight" credulity a little, it does demonstrate Snider taking a very direct route to a fly ball hit over his head.

Drawing any sweeping conclusions from this tiny sample is folly, but with my eyes I can say he doesn't look out of place in center. Obviously more innings present more challenges but, for now, this experiment deserves to continue. I cannot say I object to Farrell moving Snider to left and bringing in a move experienced guy as a late-inning defensive replacement when the situation allows.

Because the bat, the bat plays anywhere. It plays quite deliciously in centerfield, that much I know.

Update: - According to Total Zone fielding stats, Snider is 6 for 6 on balls in his zone as a CFer with one out of zone play. +/- ranks him as a +2 in a totally-not-worthless 21 inning sample. USA! USA! USA!

AP Photo courtesy of Daylife. Video finally prized from the cold, dead hands of MLBAM.


  1. can Snider play league average defense over a significant sample size? if the reports about his foot speed are accurate then, given his decent arm and routes, the answer more likely than not is "yes".

    at this point i like the positional flexibility since it allows the Jays to field their best offensive line-up every night. it's a welcome change from Nix, Rivera, Davis, Patterson.

    going in to 2012 the question becomes where can you improve the team the most.

    on another note, Lind has performed better than expected in his first year at 1B. it would be nice to see some articles written about that.

  2. First base defense ain't sexy. Big dudes fueled by copious steaks playing center field? SEXXXY TIMEZ

  3. If snider can play a passable center field it might save aaron hill's job for next year. I think you can carry one terrible hitter (worst case scenario). If hill is the worst hitter in the lineup and you get an upgrade at DH, it is a very interesting offense. obviously i am assuming thames keeps hitting, snider keeps hitting and Lawrie can hold his own.

  4. My favourite part of that video of Snider throwing out Ryan: All of the congratulation and fist-bumps his teammates are giving him for getting thrown out at second.

    I guess that's what its come down to for the Mariners now.

  5. I just hope the last few games of Rajai Davis contributing to wins (as opposed to his usual flailing at outside sliders and taking poor routes on fly balls) doesn't get Farrell to go back on his plan to use Snider in CF going forward.

    If Snider can actually play this position, that fills a huge hole and knocks down a significant barrier to contending next season.

    And for the purposes of winning this season...well against righties with major splits (like tonight against Lewis, for example), the team is obviously far better off getting as many LH bats in as possible. Even if one of those bats is Corey Patterson.

  6. After that throw to get Ryan, Snider deserves a Breton Benedict from Eggspectations. With side orders of bacon AND sausage.

    When Travis appears on my TV screen these days, I get that halfway-welling-up thing that new parents have every time they look at their babies.

    (Sorry Drew...Don't mean to pick at any scabs over your increasing domesticity.)

  7. @BFF Hopefully, the Rajai Davis heroics will only serve to illustrate what a great option Davis is to have as a bench. Being able to bring him in Dave Roberts style at the perfect moment to pinch run would be a pretty nice luxury for Farrell to have.

  8. I really hope we basically use Snider in centre against righties once Lawrie is up. Davis has looked hopeless against same-handed pitchers (especially those who can put a slider anywhere near the outside corner) and over his career has a larger-than-average platoon split. Sitting Davis against righties allows Thames and Encarnacion to both stay in the lineup. Davis remains a valuable option off the bench, while we see if Snider can handle centre on a consistent basis.


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