Monday, March 10, 2014

Time for Snider to go for it

There are many things that Travis Snider can do.  There are many things that people think Travis Snider can do.  What Travis Snider has done is somewhere in the middle.

Look at Snider's minor league numbers and his stocky profile and you think he's a guy capable of hitting 25 home runs every year.  Just last year he started off hot in April, hitting .300 with an 11.8% BB rate and 7 doubles in just 68 plate appearances.  Not a ton of power, but doubles are good and walks are great, especially out of your 6/7th place hitter.

But then his toe injury flared up and Snider just fell off the cliff after that.  After May 1st, he hit .182 and was a complete afterthought for Clint Hurdle, especially once Marlon Byrd rolled into town.  He only had 20 plate appearances in September and October combined.

Now here we are in 2014 and the Pirates have one opening in their outfield in RF.  It appears as if Tabata and Snider can job-share (maybe not a straight platoon) that spot in 2014.  But on the horizon looms mega-prospect Gregory Polanco.  Polanco is scheduled to get a tune-up in Triple A Indy, then wait out the Super 2 arbitration deadline, with a scheduled arrival in mid-June if everything goes well.

Snider and Tabata can delay his arrival if they come out en fuego and force GM Neal Huntington to keep Polanco on the farm.  Polanco is clearly the future, as the Pirates are practically salivating over the possibility of an OF of Marte, McCutchen, and Polanco with that power-speed combo in each of them.

But Snider can help himself be more marketable in a trade to a decent destination by performing at a decent level.  He can easily stay around for 2014 as the 5th OF and spot starter, but it's hard to see him being here beyond this year, as 2015 is his 2nd arb-eligible season.  Snider could be packaged with something else for a 1B, if that position continues to be an issue at the trade deadline in 2014.

In short, a fully healthy Snider can be an asset for the Pirates.  Both on the field and in the trade market.

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