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  1. Good article, I like the comp between Snider and Lind.

    Do you have any predictions/projections for Snider this year?

    Comment by Adam — April 14, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

  2. Last year in the Metrodome, Snider absolutely DESTROYED 2 balls for home-runs. That’s his potential that I still see even if some of his at-bats are treadful to watch. I still see him being the Jays best hitter 2-3 years down the line. Like you said, he’s young. I don’t think hitting him 9th helps but that’s Cito. I’m as big a Snider fan as anyone and I really hope he works it out becuase right now, he looks awful at the plate (even though he is taking some walks).

    Comment by Renegade — April 14, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  3. Lind is certainly the obvious comparison but perhaps not the best comparison.

    The two players are similar in that they both:
    (1) Derive almost all their value at the plate.
    (2) Have power.
    (3) Struggled in their first real go-thru in the majors.
    (4) Play for the Blue Jays.

    The key difference, which you pointed out, is their ability to make contact. In Lind’s first significant season (2007) he was essentially league-average at making contact at pitches in and out of the zone and has since become better than average.

    Snider was substantially below average in contact ability, missing both out-of zone and in-zone balls almost 40% more often than the league average. While his young age gives him time to improve, I’m not sure how much of a challenge that will be given the gap he needs to make up. I wonder, then, if there is a better comparator who:
    (1) Came up at a young age after showing immense power in the minors.
    (2) Struggled his first season to make contact to a similar degree.

    Comment by rotofan — April 14, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

  4. Snider appears to have become the next Barry Bonds as we speak, never swinging at anything and more often than not just walking, but make a mistake and he is either going to whiff badly or tap lightly for an out. Anyone else think the swing is broken?

    Comment by opisgod — April 14, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

  5. Ok, how about Justin Upton. He fits both your criteria. His 2008, at 20/21, was better than Snider’s 2009 at 21, but their contact profiles in those two years are quite similar.

    Comment by lincolndude — April 14, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  6. @rotofan

    How about Adam Dunn?

    At a glance:
    Similar K%
    Lots of BB
    Home run power

    Adam Dunn was called up to the bigs in 2001 and played 66 games at the age of 22. Dunn’s contact rate of 69.8% (O-30.4%, Z-78.7%) compares favorably to Snider’s 70.% (O-40%, Z-85%) over his first 24 big league games in 2008. Over 9 years in the Majors, Dunn’s contact % has never risen above 72.9%. Dunn’s career contact % is 71.5% compared to Snider’s 71%.

    Of course, there are plenty of differences to note:

    Dunn has never swung that much (39.2% in 2002, 40.4% career) while Snider seems to be making progress toward cutting down on swings (50.7% 2008, 48.2% 2009, 44.6% 2010).

    Dunn hit with power immediately and has never posted an ISO below .206. Obviously, Snider has struggled to hit the ball with authority, with a .164 and .178 ISO in 2008 and 2009, respectively. However, Snider’s career .243 batting average over 109 MLB games is startlingly close to Dunn’s career .249.

    In his last 204 PAs in Triple-A Las Vegas in 2009, Snider posted a monstrous .337/.431/.663 line. Similarly, Dunn’s final stint in AAA in 2001 resulted in a .329/.441/.676 triple slash over 210 ABs.

    Here’s hoping Snider is able to put is game together at the big league level, as he has all the potential to become a consistent 40 home run machine.

    Comment by Baron Samedi — April 14, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  7. The problem is that he’s usually got John McDonald or Mike McCoy batting behind him. So in a key spot he’s not going to see a pitch to hit. Guys don’t get intentionally walked when they’re batting .100 unless the guy behind him is even worse.

    Watching him I’d say his problem is that everything is pulled on the ground towards 1B. He’s had a couple nice line drives down the line or hit right at the 1B. When he hits to opposite field it’s been weak pop ups in foul territory.

    The obvious solution is to bat him 7th so that Encarnacion is behind him. At least he’ll get better pitches to hit then with McDonald behind him. Once he gets some better pitches he’ll need to start elevating the ball, because right now his biggest issue is that everything is hit on the ground.

    Comment by Mark — April 14, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

  8. Good call, lincolndude.

    While Upton has skills that Snider and Lind don’t (fielding, base-runner) Upton’s first year numbers are a closer fit to Snider. Thee contact numbers are pretty dam close as are there strikeout numbers.

    Upton in his second full season improved his contact numbers, and while he was still below league average, he cut the gap in half. That certainly lends hop to Snider supporters. Just a couple of other observations:

    (1) Upton had 200 more at-bats in the majors heading into 2009 than Snider had heading into 2010. So if there hitting trajectories prove similar, we might have to wait for the second half for Snider to break out. If that’s the case, Cito Gaston may prove a hinderance because I’m not sure he will have the patience that he should.

    (2) Upton had better strikeout numbers in the minors than did Snider so the learning curve might prove steeper for Snider.

    There’s not a huge pool of 20-year-olds to pick from and its even more limited choosing among more recent batters for whom we have contact rates in and out of the zone. Upton may well be the best comparator,

    Comment by rotofan — April 14, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

  9. Another interesting comparison and one I like more than the comparison to Lind. Certainly, Dunn is evidence it’s possible to be successful despite a chronically low contact rate; he overcomes it with consistent power and by not swinging at pitches out of the zone which otherwise make his contact rates intolerable. Snider needs to improve on both those fronts, and given his age, he may very well do that.

    The Jays really need Snider — he’d make a potent middle of the order with Lind and Hill. (too bad they don’t have a lead-off man but that’s another story)

    Comment by rotofan — April 14, 2010 @ 8:04 pm

  10. I’m glad someone noticed this.

    If you want to ruin a hitter, you do what Cito’s doing. You take a young kid, who needs work on breaking pitches and confidence, and bat him 8th.

    Snider’s currently getting 40% in the zone. It’s terrific that he’s swinging more at pitches in the zone and less at pitches out of the zone. It’s also great that he’s taking a walk, even if its intentional.

    If Cito thinks that giving Snider the job will help him hit, he obviously believe the kid needs confidence.

    When the kid gets absolutely nothing to hit, how is that increasing his confidence?

    It’s pretty clear that he’s getting frustrated and trying to kill anything that looks even slightly appetizing.

    Our OBP (career) for the first two hitters last night was like .630.

    If someone wants to tell me what the harm of hitting Travis Snider ahead of Lind is, I’m all ears.

    Right now, all the Blue Jays are doing is seeing if Snider’s improved his ability to take a walk. The answer is a resounding yes, now let’s get him something to hit before he ends up turning into Adam Dunn.

    Someone explain to me why anyone in their right mind would pitch to a hitter with Snider’s power when you have:

    Player A ZIPS .314 OBP
    Player B ZIPS .326 OBP
    Player C ZIPS .282 OBP

    Batting right after him.

    Comment by freefantasy — April 14, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

  11. This is true, I picked Lind due to “proximity,” i.e., both being in Toronto. I also originally planned on putting in a paragraph about how, while Snider isn’t Carl Crawford out there, his defense probably isn’t the liability that Lind’s is.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — April 14, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

  12. Snider is barely 22. The kid is going to be a good hitter. It might take a month, a year, even two years.

    Personally, I think Travis is putting so much pressure on himself to be a big success that he’s a bit paralyzed at the moment (he’s quite a serious young man and has dealt with a lot of adversity). Eventually he’ll start to relax and trust his talent and instincts–then good things will start to happen.

    Comment by greenfrog — April 14, 2010 @ 11:09 pm

  13. Jay Bruce anyone?

    Comment by Delino's Ghost — April 14, 2010 @ 11:11 pm

  14. i guess we watched two different barry bonds.

    Comment by SF 55 for life — April 15, 2010 @ 3:15 am

  15. the bomb he just hit is indicative of how awesome he will be in a couple of years

    Comment by exxrox — April 15, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

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