Travis Snider is one young player who has certainly seen his fair share of ups-and-downs in his limited major league career.  After getting called up from Triple-A for the tailend of the 2008 season, and batting .301 in 24 games, he was likely thinking that he would be playing with the team the next season. 

This was not to be the case, and after struggling through April and May of 2009, he was again returned to Las Vegas.  The disappointment of the demotion seemed to affect him at first, but he soon returned to his old form, and batted .337 through 47 games.  This, of course, earned him another August call-up to the Blue Jays.

After a promising finish to 2009, where his average suffered but he still managed to put up impressive numbers, he would start with the Blue Jays in 2010.  His luck would be short lived though, and after going on a strong hot streak in May, he would injure his right wrist and miss 53 games on the DL. 

Now, once again, Snider is up playing with the Blue Jays.  He has shown flashes of enormous power, as the ball just seems to rocket off his bat, and improved defence in the outfield.  Despite this, Snider is unfortunately struggling once again. 

This is hardly surprising or a cause for worry for the young prospect, as every player goes through growing pains.  But it is showing what Snider will have to work on to improve against major league pitching and take the next step as a hitter.

His strike zone recognition seems to be his biggest problem, as he is too often swinging at balls off the plate.  Which, of course, causes him to strike out at a pretty rapid pace, 50 times in 177 at-bats this year.  The other possible issue could be that opposing pitchers are very aware of certain holes in his approach that he hasn’t fixed yet. 

This isn’t necessarily a problem, as he is still developing, and there are certainly a great many power hitters in the majors who sacrifice average for the sake of doubles and home runs.  Think about Carlos Pena, Adam Dunn, and Mark Reynolds as the prototypical example of that kind of hitter.  Hardly bad company to be in if you are Snider, but with his stats in the minors, it is quite possible that he could be hit for both power and average in the future. 

Snider is a 22 year old who is dedicated to improving at baseball, and like many on the Jays team, he doesn’t just want to be a role player, he wants to be great.  So it helps that the coaches are easing him into the role, slotting him usually into the eighth and ninth positions in the batting order to take some of the pressure off him.

Though with a logjam at the positions, Snider isn’t necessarily guaranteed to be playing every day.  This could prevent him from having the consistent playing time to work through his struggles, but then again, it could be the time he needs to improve without the pressure of the game.  If he can avoid more injury, and finish this year working through his struggles, next year could be a very productive year for Snider.


Read more MLB news on