Tag:Travis Snider
Posted on: May 11, 2011 12:57 am

If Lind hits DL, Snider will not receive call


By Evan Brunell

If Adam Lind is forced to go on the 15-day disabled list with a sore back, don't expect Travis Snider to head back to the majors. 

Snider was demoted at the end of April to work on his swing after a poor start to the season. While he's turned things around with a .425/.511/.525 line in 47 plate appearances with four doubles, general manager Alex Anthopoulous says the 23-year-old is not ready for a return to the majors.

"Travis is making strides," Anthopoulos told MLB.com. "I had a long talk with our Las Vegas staff, and [hitting coach] Chad Mottola was very encouraged.

"I asked him the same thing anybody would ask me: 'How long? What do you think?' He said, 'I don't know. It could come in a day, it could come in a week, it could come in a month.' But he's encouraged that he's really starting to incorporate some things now into the game." 

A.A. added that Snider was gracious about the demotion.

"He knew he wasn't there. At the end of the day, it's about the results, but he knew his swing wasn't where it needed to be for us," Anthopoulous said, who reiterated that Snider could have remained in the majors and hit at the bottom of the lineup, but that wasn't conducive to making Snider reach his potential as a middle-of-the-order hitter. "Even though he could survive because he's so talented, ultimately, the debate of calling guys up comes down to can they come up and survive, but are they doing it the right way?"

The Jays have been getting by with Juan Rivera and Corey Patterson becoming full-time starters, but the absence of Lind really hurts. The team has been giving first-base prospect David Cooper some playing time and while he got the season off to a slow start, he was responsible for Toronto's defeat of Boston on Tuesday night by rocketing a solo home run in the eighth that put the Jays up by one at the time. After an Adrian Gonzalez home run the next inning, Cooper delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 10th.

In an ideal world, Toronto would see Juan Rivera hit the way he has been capable of in the past and then trade him in a month or two to create space for Snider. But as Anthopoulous has been clear about, Snider's not coming back to the bigs until the team believes he's ready to be a major part of the offense moving forward.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:30 pm

Snider demoted to Triple-A to work on swing

SniderBy Evan Brunell

Travis Snider is such an important part of the Blue Jays' future that he received a demotion to Triple-A.

The 23-year-old has gotten the year off to such a poor start that Toronto felt compelled to send him to Las Vegas to work on his swing. While Snider slumped to begin last year as well before breaking out and finishing with a .255/.304/.463 line in 319 plate appearances along with 14 homers sandwiched around a wrist injury, the Jays weren't comfortable waiting for another breakout this year.

The reasoning? Snider's swing has changed between this season and last season to the point where he was emulating Ichiro Suzuki. Except, since Snider is no Ichiro, without addressing the swing, the Jays would have been looking at someone capable of hitting only at the bottom of the order.

Clearly, that wasn't acceptable to GM Alex Anthopoulous, who spoke to the media Friday morning as FAN590 relays. Anthopoulous pointed out that Snider is hooking the ball and while he has been working on his swing, the club felt he would be better served doing so in an environment more conducive to tweaking, as opposed to in the majors where the object is to win as many games as possible.

It should be pointed out that despite swing issues, Snider's peripherals are in line with last season's and have actually improved, which shows that he's not all that far off from being a dangerous middle-of-the-order hitter as soon as his swing is fixed. Snider's walk rate has ticked up compared to last season while his strikeout rate has stayed constant. That rate, 26.4 percent, is still too high for anyone's liking as that projects to 149 strikeouts over a season's worth of at-bats (564).

But perhaps the most damning statistical measures of Snider's failed swing path is found in batting average on balls in play and line-drive percentage. While BABIP is uncontrollable for a pitcher and hovers around .300, which allows for evaluation on whether a pitcher is pitching over or under his head, a hitter's BABIP tends to vary from hitter to hitter. While a low BABIP doesn't necessarily mean poor contact skills and could easily be a luck factor, especially with a small sample size to draw from, Snider's .238 mark gives the impression that he's actually hitting as bad as his .184/.276/.264 line would indicate.

His line-drive percentage, meanwhile, is down to just 14.1 percent, a very low mark that speaks to poor contact and power behind the bat. Snider's game could give him 30 home runs a year annually, but that just can't happen with a line-drive percentage that low. Of all qualified batters to date, his line-drive percentage puts him near the bottom of the MLB leaderboard, rubbing shoulders with other scuffling players like Vernon Wells, Carlos Santana, Dan Uggla, Jorge Posada and Hanley Ramirez. One doesn't necessarily need a high line-drive percentage to be successful, as Carlos Quentin is currently proving, but it's certainly not a recommended model to follow.

To replace Snider, the club recalled former first-round bust David Cooper, who reworked his swing last July and has gone bananas since. He drew attention in spring training and has cranked out a .395/.438/.617 line so far in Vegas. He gets the call over more heralded prospects such as Brett Lawrie and Eric Thames, as Anthopoulous said the two are currently getting by on talent, and not process. While Lawrie and Thames have OPS' over 1.000, their strikeout-to-walk ratios are poor, and would be exposed at the higher level.

Snider's own talent, meanwhile, is too good to let this momentary bump set him back. It's not as if he's struggled with his swing his entire career; this is a fairly new issue. All it will take is going back to the drawing board, reviewing his previous swing and incorporating tweaks to his current swing. At that point, it's all about repetition and getting back into a groove. Hey, it won't be easy, but Snider's future with the Jays still belongs in the middle of the order.

Juan Rivera, who is suddenly on fire after beginning his Canadian career as a non-factor, will start in left field while Cooper, a first baseman, takes over the DH spot.

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Posted on: March 22, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2011 4:09 pm

Jays field possible opening day lineup

DotelBy Evan Brunell

The Toronto Blue Jays are readying for opening day, deploying a lineup in Tuesday's spring-training game that could be the lineup manager John Farrell trots out for his managerial debut, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports.

That lineup is:

CF Rajai Davis
SS Yunel Escobar
DH Jose Bautista
1B Adam Lind
2B Aaron Hill
3B Edwin Encarnacion
LF Travis Snider
RF Juan Rivera
C J.P. Arencibia

The only differences that could occur are Bautista and Encarnacion swapping positions, as EdE isn't expected to play much at the hot corner while that will be Bautista's new home.

Rivera is tabbed for right despite being defensively challenged. Snider is as well, though, and has only 57 games in right to his name in the majors while Rivera has 272. Neither have right field as their primary position but it appears Toronto will have to sacrifice defense given the team's composition.

In other news, Knobler reports that relievers Frank Francisco and Octavio Dotel (pictured) may hit the disabled list to start the year, with GM Alex Anthopoulous believing it is possible neither can be ready in time -- but that's not definite.

Francisco felt discomfort during a bullpen session Saturday in his pectoral muscle, but a MRI came back clean. He is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews, which makes one immediately think "Tommy John surgery," but the Jays do not expect that type of news. Meanwhile, Dotel's left hamstring injury has kept him out of major-league spring training games for a week, but tossed an inning Tuesday in a minor-league game. The club expects him to be ready, but if not, Jon Rauch will likely function as closer until both return.

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Posted on: December 6, 2010 8:34 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 8:49 pm

Greinke deals still being discussed

Zack Greinke A Zack Greinke deal won't be done quickly, but more and more around here it's sounding like it will get done.

There does, however, appear to be some tension between the Royals and the perceived leader for the 2009 Cy Young-winner, the Rangers. The Royals feel the Rangers are low-balling them and the Rangers feel like the Royals are asking for too much, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes .

"We're going to move slow with it and [wait] until we get the right type of deal if, indeed, we move on it," Royals general manager Dayton Moore told the Star. "It's no different than any other year. I could give you examples -- I won't, but I could -- where we've been close to dealing Zack or other players in the past if we got the right pieces. We didn't get the right piece included."

So what's the right piece? It appears to start with two top prospects, one of them being a pitcher.

From Texas, the Royals want shortstop Jurickson Profar, outfielder Engel Beltre and a pitcher or two among the group of Derek Holland, Tanner Scheppers and Martin Perez.

"Our challenge is how we go about doing it when you're both considering high dollar players as well as a package of young players," Ranger general manager John Daniels told writers (via MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan ). "That's the nature of our job, balancing the short-term and the long-term. What gives us the best chance to win this year while building around a core team that's maturing, but also considering our goal of being competitive year in and year out."

The Royals have also been talking to the Blue Jays, and Toronto could have Greinke now for pitcher Kyle Drabek and outfielder Travis Snider.

One team that's not in the Greinke talks is the Reds.

"I haven't had any discussions with them," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told Reds reporters (via MLB.com's Mark Sheldon ).

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 30, 2010 2:17 am
Edited on: September 30, 2010 12:00 pm

Jays honor Gaston with facial hair, win

Travis Snider Travis Snider's fake mustache was both ridiculous and awesome.

Using eye-black to imitate Cito Gaston's mustache, Snider led off the game with a homer and added an RBI single an inning later to send the retiring manager out with an 8-4 victory over the Yankees in his last home game. Snider's leadoff homer was the team's 245th of the season, breaking the team record.

"It's a great way to honor him and I'm proud to be able to say I played for him," Snider told the Toronto Star . "I couldn't think of a better night [for the record] to happen, to honor him and what he's helped us with."

Gaston was honored before the game. Gaston started his second stint as the team's manager in 2008, 11 years after his 10-year run with the team that included two World Series titles and four division crowns.

"You could just feel the electricity," said catcher John Buck. "That's how much Cito has meant to this organization, this team and all the players he has either managed, coached or played with."
-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com