Potential Off-Season Targets: Travis Snider


With the 2011 season over, the old saying, “There’s always next season,” instantly becomes all Mets fan’s credo. But before we can think about riding the 7-train out to Flushing again, there is a whole off-season to project and pontificate about. Considering the amount of holes the Mets will have, this coming off-season holds a lot of importance.

In this new on-going series, Rising Apple will analyze potential off-season targets for the New York Mets. Today’s target at-hand is outfielder Travis Snider.

Travis Snider has seemingly been around for ages. And in some ways, he really has. The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Snider with the 14th overall pick in the 2006 draft, and immediately made his debut in Rookie Ball after signing. The 18 year-old outfielder impressed, smacking a .325/.412/.567 line with 11 HR, 41 RBI, and 36 R in 226 PA’s–prompting Baseball America to tab Snider as the #53 prospect in baseball prior to the 2007 season. The honor was validated by his tremendous .313/.377/.525 line with 16 HR, 93 RBI, and 72 R in 517 PA’s at Single-A the following year.

The spotlight only grew larger for Snider, as BA ranked him the #11 prospect pre-2008, and then #6 in their pre-2009 list. The outfielder also got his first taste of the show in 2008, posting an enticing .301/.338/.466 line in 80 PA’s. Yet, despite his Minor League accolades, and brief cup of coffee in the bigs, the Washington State-native’s success in the Majors ended there. Making the roster out of Spring Training in 2009, the 21 year-old swatted a disappointing .241/.328/.419 line with 9 HR, 29 RBI, and 34 R in 276 PA’s. Snider was sent down to Triple-A in May, where he lit-up pitchers to the tune of a .337/.431/.663 line with 14 HR, 40 RBI, and 32 R in 204 PA’s.

Hoping his explosive tenure in Triple-A would do him well, Toronto again placed the former “top prospect” on the 25-man roster to start the 2010 season. But, similar to 2008, Snider found himself in the Minors once Summer struck. Despite hitting 14 HR and slugging .463 in 276 PA’s for the Blue Jays, Snider didn’t display much else–hitting just .255 and taking a walk at an unconscionable .304 clip. However, unlike his 2009 Minor League stint, Snider struggled against inferior pitching–posting a combined .283/.288/.485 line with 5 HR, 18 RBI, and 16 R in 104 PA’s (mostly at Double-A). Even when the outfield returned to the Blue Jays (starting in late-July), he still looked lost at the plate (.264/.291/.451 line in 189 PA’s).

Like clockwork, in 2011, Snider yet again made the roster but failed to stick. After swinging a horrendous .184/.276/.264 line in the month of April (99 PA’s), the 23 year-old didn’t see the light of day until July. Granted, Snider did own a .327/.394/.480 line in 277 PA’s for Triple-A–remarkably better than his depressing Minor League stint the season before–but his oft-dinger-power was gone (just 4 HR in 277 PA’s). The outfielder didn’t do much when the Blue Jays recalled him in early-July, posting just a .260/.262/.420 line in 103 forgettable PA’s.

Looking ahead to 2012, Travis Snider is no longer a top prospect–or arguably in Toronto’s future plans. The left-handed hitter has been given three ample looks in the Major Leagues (in 2009, 2010, and 2011)–all without much success. With the Blue Jays recent acquisition of Ben Francisco from the Phillies, it adds a third layer of left-field competition going into Spring Training (along with Rajai Davis and Eric Thames). Even though Snider can continue to sit in Triple-A, there’s a good chance the Blue Jays will instead opt to trade him. Enter the New York Mets.

The Mets are seemingly set in right-field (Lucas Duda) and center-field (Andres Torres), but Jason Bay has been a universal and expensive dud in left-field. While Snider hasn’t done much with his stick in the Major Leagues, he has, at least, shown a capable glove. In 1335 career innings in left-field, Snider has posted a combined 6.8 UZR/150–with his best showing being a 21.1 UZR/150 in 433.6 innings during the 2010 season.

In regards to Snider’s defense, Toronto Blue Jays blogger Jared Macdonald (of Jays Journal) said:

"“[Snider is a] better [defender] than most people think. [He] still needs to work on his routes but his arm is underrated. No bounce to second base from [an] outfield corner."

With just a .248/.307/.423 career line to his name, the “bounty” for acquiring Travis Snider should hardly quake the ground. Yet, given his still relative young age (will turn 24 in February), flashes of Minor League brilliance, and very respectable glove, it’s possible that with a little change of scenery, the Mets could be in-line for quite a steal if they acquired Snider.