Travis Snider generated plenty of pre-draft buzz in 2011. Being a highly regarded prospect will do that. He also hit 14 home runs in 289 at-bats last season.
However, Sinder was off to a .184/.276/.264 start this season with only one homer when Blue Jays management decided to demote him to triple-A to work on his swing.
About that swing…
It’s funny that I was thinking just yesterday, while watching Snider’s at-bats, that he just barely missed squaring up the ball on a few swings. These were pitches over the plate that he should have crushed, but instead fouled straight back. The contact was made toward the meat of the bat, but underneath the ball enough to fail to put it in play.
As I watched Snider do this several times, I noticed that his hips would end up extemely open after the swing and that his feet were “jumping” as he swung. Snider has always had a slight pull of his front hip, it’s part of what generates his power, but from what I saw yesterday, that hip pull was way too extreme. As for the feet, well, not many (if any) hitters can find success without a solid foundation. Simply put, if feet are moving during a swing it creates a lack of balance.
In the long-run, Sinder should be fine — though I have concerns if he will ever be much more than a .270-.280 hitter. He’s still only 23 and has the kind of raw power that will only improve as he works toward his mid-to-late 20′s. While I think it may be another year or two before Sinder becomes a solid fantasy mixed league outfielder, I believe he will get there someday.
Update: A quote from Blu Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos from MLB.com.
“He’s pulling off the ball a lot, he’s really out front of a lot of balls, he hooks a lot of balls and comes around it, and we need to try to get him to shorten up again and get back to what made him a successful, very good offensive player for us,”