We knew that Keith Law was still a believer in Travis Snider when, back in December, he gave him an honourable mention in his Top 50 Under 25 list, and sung his praises in the post-list chat. We see today that he hasn’t wavered in that optimism, listing Snider, as well as Kyle Drabek, among seven former top prospects who struggled in 2011, but whose futures he still believes in. Colby Rasmus also gets an honourable mention in the piece at ESPN.com (Insider Only).
“Snider, still just 24, hit at every level in the minors, including repeated trips to Triple-A (where he’s learning nothing at this point because Vegas is such a good place to hit), and is now starting his hands lower, just above his waist, far enough back that he needs just a small trigger to load. This should allow him to drive the ball better, reducing the number of times he gets on top of it and hits it into the ground, and could give him more time to react to a breaking ball. I hate giving up on a player who’s healthy, performed all the way up the ladder and doesn’t have a tangible reason for failure like a mechanically unsound swing or horrible plate discipline, which is why I’m including Snider in this list,” he writes.
As for Kyle Drabek, last year “early struggles led him to overthrow, which led him to pull himself off line, throw fewer strikes and struggle even more. Drabek didn’t lose velocity, but the overthrowing cost him command and flattened out his slider, while his curveball — his best pitch in the minors — became almost a weapon of last resort.”
Law is hopeful of the work the Jays are doing to keep “his delivery on line to the plate and keeping himself calm on the mound, but they might also need to tinker with his pitch selection and get him throwing that plus breaking ball more.”
Um… right? Wasn’t that always supposed to be big pitch?
He also suggests keeping Drabek out of the awful developmental environment in Las Vegas, starting him in New Hampshire instead. Ya… why not that too?
Other Prospect Items of Note
I know he burned a lot of bridges with the Yu Darvish stuff, and people thought that he was a bit over-the-top in his praise of Nestor Molina, but… whatever, Kevin Gray is impressed to fuck with Noah Syndergaard, and I feel I should share.
“The big Texan is every bit of 6-foot-5 and stands tall, maximizing downward trajectory. While standing behind catcher Santiago Nessy, I got a sense of what it might feel like trying to hit Syndergaard. The term “throwing downhill” comes to mind as his fastball vapor-trails from a 3/4 arm slot (maybe a bit higher) and into the glove. If this kid starts commanding his changeup, it’s over.”
“He’s the best pure thrower we have, hitting 97, 98,” says Fisher Cats manager Sal Fasano. “Mechanics are getting better and better. He has a chance to be something special.”
Elsewhere, and lastly, Jim Callis of Baseball America goes back through their top 100, revealing the high and low votes players received from BA writers. Travis d’Arnaud was rated as high as 9th, Anthony Gose 26th, Jake Marisnick 44th, and Dan Norris 50th (!!!?!?!). Overall BA had them at 17, 39, 67 and 91.