Travis Snider Not MLB Ready

Travis Snider Not MLB Ready

Travis Snider is not MLB ready at this point.

The only reason that he was able to hit .301 in 2008 (and post his 800+ OPS) was due to his extremely lucky .417 BABIP.

BABIP-Equation.png

To put how lucky that BABIP was into perspective, Pujols career high BABIP is .340, Joe Mauer’s high is .364 (when he hit .347). The year Ted Williams hit .406? BABIP of .378. So either Travis Snider is a god like hitter that the world has never seen or he was LOTO winner lucky in 2008. On top of that he K’d 23 (vs 5 BB) in under 100 PA. He’ll be a stud but I think the Jays are making a mistake to have him at the MLB level at the start of 2009. I say this for two reasons.

Firstly, Snider isn’t a player that’s been up and down, acquiring a number of at-bats at high levels of play. Take someone like Adam Lind. He pretty much needed to be called up when he was last season, as he has dominated the AAA level during his career and didn’t have anything left to prove. Snider on the other hand has less than 75 plate appearances at the AAA level. I say give him some time to concentrate of cutting down on his K’s or at least work on his defense, as he spent a good portion of the 2008 minor league season in the DH role.

travis-snider-2009-season.png

The second reason is something I’ve touched on a many times before, the arbitration clock. I suspect Snider will struggle in the first half of 2009 and I’d much rather save his cheap MLB pre-arb play for a more productive time. Plain and simple. With the Jays seemingly counting pennies these days, saving Snider is a sound business decision.

With the re-tooling on the Yankees and Red Sox, the improved Rays and the under-rated Orioles, now is just not the time to be throwing away pre-arb playing time on a player that HAS to regress in BABIP and overall production at the beginning of the 2009 season. The Rays (Longoria) and the Reds (Bruce) did a great job of working the arbitration rules to their favor. Time for J.P. to do the same.



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  • I don’t know, man. He may not be ready for the show, but I’m ready to give him a chance. Let the kids do what they can. If they come up short, they come up short, but let’s give em a chance.

  • Mark

    From what I understand of BAPIP, you can tell if it’s abnormal by adding .12 to the Line drive %. Snider’s line drive % was 34.6 last year – an incredibly high number, but that’s not the point. According to this, Snider’s BAPIP should have been 466. His was 417. If anything, and this is going to sound crazy, Snider was unlucky.

    We’d expect Snider’s LD% to drop with more playing time. That being said, he wasn’t overmatched or lucky when he was first called up. Like I said earlier, as crazy as it sounds, he was unlucky.

    I do agree that the Jays should hold him back because of service time issues. I’ve suggested before (not here) that the Jays should lock him up to a similar deal that Longoria got, which would be around 9 years 44 million. However, since it’s unlikely the Jays will do that, they should hold him back a couple months to prevent him from becoming a super two player or becoming too expensive too early.

    Spending some more time in AAA can only help, and it wouldn’t hurt if they let him practice LF. When he got called up with the Jays he had a 1.9 UZR in RF, but a -.3 in LF. He’s obviously not a better defender in RF than Rios, so he might as well learn to play LF if he’s gonna be in the minors.

  • Lyle

    I don’t know this guy from a hole in the wall but he only had 73 major league at bats last year so I wouldn’t be making assertions on how lucky or unlucky he was last year. The sample size is just too small, especially for a predictor like ldBABIP, which doesn’t appear to be very accurate (when compared to other BABIP predictors, at least).

  • Jason

    BABIP is a very accurate way of predicting a players performance..
    In this respect Nick Swisher was very unlucky last year when he hit .225.. He will in all likelyhood revert back to his average year of .265. I really do not know why you guys would say Snider was unlucky at all… its very clear that he wa sin fact lucky. Combine that with a terrible K to BB ration. And terrible K to AB ratio and he is likely to struggle this year for at least part of the season. Even Adam Lind struggled once brought up and he put up amazing numbers in his minor league career. I think its very likely Snider will have a line around .270 15 HR with a 135K to 35 Walk for the year given 600 Abs… His breakout year should occur in 2010…
    And I agree he should spend the year in the minors. The Jays arent going anywhere this year.
    And JP the idiot already ruined his Arb clock by bringing him up last year. He *could* play him all year in the show, it wont matter.. he clock is running now no matter what. But it doesnt help the kid by having him struggle in the majors…

  • Thanks for the comments Mark. In the past I’ve questioned the validity of LD% stats, as these are typically scored at the discretion of the stat keeper. If I recall the 2007 Twins LD% to BABIP data were many percentage points off of where it should have been.

    Two other mid-season, late call-ups to the Jays had what I would call too high of a LD%. Kevin Mench scores a 27.3% and Joe Inglett a 25.2%. I have to question whether the scoring is correct after looking at these numbers.

    One last point of LD% contention are his 2008 minor league numbers via minorleaguesplits.com, which has Snider hitting only 14.5% LD (with a sample of 400+ PA). I’m not saying that this number is correct but we can probably find his real overall LD% somewhere in-between at around 20%.

  • Jason

    All that being said. I do think Snider is a future all star player… He has the tools to be special…

  • MikeD

    BABIP is a good indicator, but before we write off Snider as a bust for 2009 (not that anyone was really saying that), let’s also take into account that what he loses in good luck could be more than be compensated for based on progression as a player, especially one as talented as Snider. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised by a .280-.300 average for a full season.

  • Francois

    I’m a little late to the party, but…

    It’s kind of a moot point now, since the Jays intend to start him in the Majors. But, I’m pretty sure service time is based off time spent at the MLB level. So, calling him up in September gave him some MLB service time, but it is not like a clock that once started can’t be stopped.

    Secondly, I think Snider will be fine in the Majors this year. Sure, he was lucky last year in having a high BABIP, and if he has the same K-rate/HR-rate, then his average is gonna be really low. However, I think he will lower his K-rate and increase his HR-rate, so his reduction in BABIP won’t as significant.