Travis Snider: Platoon Ceiling?

This post is a revision of a Jan 2010 article titled: Travis Snider’s Troubling Splits

The Premise of the past article:

Travis Snider needs to either be all world vs righties or drastically improve vs lefties in order to reach his full ‘prospect rating’ potential bestowed on him in years past, including topping out as Baseball America’s #6 overall prospect in 2009.

 

Unfortunately for Travis, Jays brass and Jays fans, he’s still having a tough time vs lefties, primarily with his strikeout rate. Below are Snider’s complete minor league (henceforth MILB) & MLB strikeout & walk numbers vs left handed pitchers (LHP)

 

[default_table]
Year Level AB K BB
2011 AAA 77 23 6
2010 AA 25 6 1
2009 AAA 54 14 6
2008 AAA 14 4 0
2008 AA 101 35 9
2008 A+ 17 5 1
2007 A 143 44 13
2006 R 64 20 4
2006-2011 MILB 495 151 40
2011 MLB 43 16 0
2010 MLB 59 22 2
2009 MLB 40 20 5
2008 MLB 14 5 2
2008 – 2011 MLB 156 63 9
[/default_table] [pullquote3 quotes="true" align="center" variation="red"]Where’s the improvement?[/pullquote3]

Snider’s MILB K rates have held steady over the past few years and his MLB rates are downright terrible, including 38 K vs 2 BB in only 102 AB over 2010 & 2011.

 

MILB

495 AB = 40 BB vs 151

Rough PA K Rate (AB + BB): 28.2%

MLB

171 PA = 9 BB vs 63 K

K Rate : 36.8%

Awful. And the Jays know this, as Travis has already seen his share of platoon duty during his time in the show. To put both the MILB + MLB numbers into prospective, Drew Stubbs struck out 205 times last season. And his overall K rate was 30.1%

 

Ryan Howard Comp

[image_frame style="framed" align="center"]http://mopupduty.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/ryan_howard_k-rate.jpg[/image_frame]

In the 2010 article I used a Ryan Howard comp. While the comp may be out the window, Howard is a good example of a player that succeeds despite awful splits. Howard straight up MASHES vs righties to make up for his feebleness vs lefties.

Ryan had a decent year at the pate in 2011, posting an overall .835 OPS with 33 HR. The splits tell the tale

vs RHP:  .266/.370/.550  30 HR, 63 BB vs 117 K 459 PA

vs LHP:  .224/.286/.347 3 HR, 12 BB vs 55 K, 185 PA

 

In order for Howard’s game to work, he had to essentially be all world vs righties with his .920 OPS & 6.5% HR & .384 wOBA rate to make up for his piss poor showing vs lefties with a .633 OPS & 1.6% HR rate. This isn’t an isolated incident, as Howard has always posted drastic splits. But the crux of his game is destroying right handed pitching.

 

Snider in the Majors

 

Snider’s career mark vs righties is a .767 OPS & .332 wOBA, which is slightly above MLB average for his career (102+ RC), yet hardly enough to offset his .574 OPS & .257 wOBA vs LHP. Normally I would cast aside small sample numbers such as Snider’s vs lefties splits at the MLB level, yet his garbage K rate throughout his career leads me to believe that the struggles will continue.

 

Projections & Gains

 

Bill James projects a .340 wOBA for Snider this upcoming season. So, my question is: Where do the gains come from? Does Travis post a .390+ wOBA vs righties? Or is .340 just not going to happen?

 

High Level Platoon Ceiling for Snider

 

It appears that Snider will have to put his own spin on Ryan Howard’s game in order to meet his lofty prospect ranking ceiling. Can Snider turn his game around vs lefties & make everything work? Or will he continue to struggle & have to be a high level producer vs righties in order to balance the books?

 

Personally, I’m nearing the end of my rope with Travis. He’s had time in the minors & majors to improve his K rate vs LHP. I’d give him till the all-star break to turn things around (at AAA or in the MLB). If he can’t turn the corner I’d deal him while he still holds value.

 

has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +