Shortly following Travis Snider’s final ugly plate appearance during yesterday’s Spring Training game against the Boston Red Sox, in which the 24 year old Toronto Blue Jays outfielder struck out on four pitches with horrible swings on a left handed pitcher’s hard sliders, the one time top prospect was demoted to Minor League camp. The roster move signifies Toronto’s plan to go with Eric Thames in left field to start the season, possibly platooning with Rajai Davis or Ben Francisco against left handed pitching.
As I wrote over at DJF yesterday, Snider being sent down is far from surprising. The young left handed hitter has struggled to find any consistency at all over his time at the Major League level. However, from the brief flashes of brilliance that he has shown and his rise through the Minor League system at such a ridiculously young age, it’s difficult to suggest that his upside isn’t dramatically larger than that of Thames.
The coming season for the Blue Jays once again represents a see what we’ve got moment for the club. The majority of the regulars in the lineup all have massive question marks as far as their projected value this coming season.
Think objectively for a moment. How much confidence would you place in any guess as to how J.P. Arencibia, Adam Lind, Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus, Thames or Snider are going to do this year. In fact, the most reliable members of the starting lineup consist of a shortstop who was practically given away by the Atlanta Braves because of a supposed attitude problem, a third basemen with 171 career MLB plate appearances and a right fielder who no one had heard of two years ago.
With so much variance, it seems to me it would be the perfect time to give players with the highest upside the most opportunity to succeed. While Thames is a nice guy who puts in a visible amount of effort, he doesn’t project to be much more than a fourth outfielder and certainly not the type to be brought in as a defensive replacement.
Thanks to the grumblings from the what have you done for me lately fan base, Snider has become the type of prospect who is far too quickly transitioned into a suspect. He’s only 24 years old. That’s less than a month older than Dustin Ackley of the Seattle Mariners, who only put up slightly better numbers as a 23 year old than Snider put up as a 20 and 21 year old. Alex Gordon, the Kansas City Royals prospect who finally had his breakout after years of hype, had almost 800 more MLB plate appearances than Snider currently has before he saw the type of success that everyone expected him to have.
Major League Baseball isn’t easy, and it gets even more difficult when a highly touted player gets yo-yo’d around at a young and impressionable age. With so many question marks on the current team roster, what’s one more, especially when the potential upside is as remarkable as the one the Snider offers?
And The Rest
A horrible off season for Ryan Madson got even worse during the exhibition schedule, as it was announced over the weekend that the Cincinnati Reds’ closer requires Tommy John surgery and will miss the entirety of the 2012 season. [Getting Blanked]
Seattle Mariners owner Hiroshi Yamauchi has never seen his team play live, and doesn’t plan on making an exception when the Ms open the season in his native Japan. [Hearld Net]
The Miami Marlins home run celebrating mechanized monstrosity really is something, I guess. [Big League Stew]
The joys of symmetrical slash lines. [Value Over Replacement Grit]
The sports editor of The Economist and the man in charge of an online service designed to help amateur players share their thoughts on the possibility of MLB one day holding an International draft. [FanGraphs]
The Milwaukee Brewers made the right decision when they signed Aramis Ramirez. At least it was the best decision that they could make at the time. [Disciples of Uecker]
I don’t want to jinx anything, but Johan Santana’s recovery continues today with the expectation that he’ll throw 90-95 pitches today against the St. Louis Cardinals. [Mets Merized Online]
While I have my questions about the abilities of the Detroit Tigers lineup outside of Alex Avila, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, I’m not sure I’m really scratching my head questioning if the Kansas City Royals are better than them. [Royals Review]
Eleven years ago this past weekend, the greatest play in the history of baseball occurred. Happy anniversary! [Getting Blanked]
Whether or not Freddy Sanchez starts the season on the Disabled List, the San Francisco Giants have decided to begin shopping what was planned to be his two headed replacement Mikan Fonterio. [McCovey Chronicles]
No matter who the Giants start with at second base, this year’s edition of the middle infield promises to be one of the weakest in memory. [Bay City Ball]
Debunking the power struggle and other Spring Training myths for the Boston Red Sox. [WEEI.com]
The pros and cons of having Daniel Bard in the Boston Red Sox starting rotation. [FOX Sports]
Finally, Spring Training. It’s good for something at least. [SB Nation]