I’m not going to pretend that there hasn’t been a lot of Travis Snider love in these pages lately– too much, most likely– or that I didn’t feel slight pangs of guilt when it was tweeted at me this weekend that Eric Thames had said on the radio that he doesn’t “care what bloggers think” about where the battle between him and Snider stands so far.
Honestly, as much as I’m still in the tank for the tantalizing promise Snider once showed, I’d genuinely love to see Eric Thames take the ball and run with it and succeed– and I don’t think he’s incapable. It’s just… well… it’s just stuff like this:
ESPN is ranking the top 500 players in baseball, and today came out with the bottom 100 of their list. Riffing on that was Dan Szymborski of Baseball Think Factory and the ZiPS projection system, who singled out seven players who could potentially be the the next Jose Bautista (Insider only). In other words, “some of the second-tier prospects and youngish journeymen who sit in the 401-500 range who still have a chance of really surprising, much like Bautista did in 2010.”
Marc Rzepczynski makes the list– much to what I’m sure is the delight of our friend Drew from over at Getting Blanked– but the first name mentioned ranked at number 475 on the Top 500 (below Eric Thames, it should be noted), Travis Snider.
“After hitting .301/.338/.466 during a cup of coffee stint at age 20 in 2008, 2009 was supposed to be Snider’s big breakout,” Szymborski writes. “Then 2010. Then 2011. The calendar’s turned yet again, and the Jays are still waiting for Snider to force his way into the heart of a solid Jays lineup. While there’s a natural inclination to give up on Snider, he just turned 24. ZiPS, for one, has soured considerably on Snider, but on the upside, still thinks he can develop into a Kevin Mitchell-type hitter in the best-case scenario. Mitchell had a better first experience in the majors, but had setbacks of his own, such as repeating Triple-A after a rough season with the Tidewater Tides in 1984. And remember, Mitchell was National League MVP in 1989.”
OK, so maybe it’s not quite the Mickey Mantle comparison some Globe and Mail commenter wants to put on Brett Lawrie’s head, but Mitchell was no slouch, putting up 31.1 wins in a career that spanned parts of 13 seasons. He was worth four wins four times, including a 4.2 fWAR in the strike-shortened 1994 season, and 7.1 fWAR in his ’89 MVP campaign. He also was in the three win neighbourhood an additional three times.
So… not a career to be scoffed at by a long stretch.
For Snider? Fuckin’ eh, I’ll take it. Since, y’know, right now we’re staring down the barrel of pretty much shit all.