Off the Snide
Meet Matt Stairs version 2.0. His name is Travis Snider. He appears to be angry. It’s possible that’s because annoying writers
are calling him Matt Stairs version 2.0.
I don’t know.
Just check out
his headshot and you’ll see a guy who appears seriously perturbed. Lately, MSV2 has been taking out this anger on baseballs — and turning heads in fantasy leagues.
The comparisons to Stairs are clear. Snider bats left handed, has a goatee, swings
hard, and hits bombs.
At a stocky 6-foot,
235 pounds, Snider is noticeably larger than the newly slimmed-down Stairs. And that extra mass leads to plenty of power. The other major
difference between the two players: Stairs managed just three full seasons as a
starter and has a .264 career average, while Snider — well he’s going to be a
The Jays brought Snider up to start the 2009 campaign as a
21-year-old. Ranked by MLB.com as the No. 7 overall prospect entering last season, he got a lot
of love as a fantasy sleeper. Snider came
out of the gate raking, then flopped and was sent down on May 20 after hitting
.216 for the month. It’s possible the
headshot was taken that day, when he stormed out of the clubhouse rejecting
all inquiries from the press.
Snider apparently devoted that channeled that anger into destroying Triple-A pitching, posting a monster .337-14-40 clip with a 1.094 OPS in 175 at-bats for Las Vegas. Rewarded with another callup, he, posted a .816 OPS in
September, and headed into 2010 penciled in as an everyday outfielder for the
Snider struggled out of the gate, hitting .155 in April with just five RBIs
and a .338 slugging percentage. Then May — his ’09 nemesis — arrived. But this time, something clicked.
Over a 14-game stretch from April 29-May 14, Snider hit .385 with four homers, 11 RBIs, 11 runs, eight doubles and a 1.187 OPS. He posted seven multi-hit
games over that span, and even threw in a couple steals for good
measure. After looking virtually clueless
against southpaws in ’09, he’s batting .350 (7-for-20) off them with
three doubles thus far.
On May 12, Snider showed some maturity at the plate, switching to a heavier bat and shortening up his swing to smack a
double and a two-run homer off Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. He followed that up on Friday with a
three-run shot off Rangers starter Rich Harden and his third stolen base in a 2-for-4 performance.
Snider is an extra-base hit machine right now and appears to
be coming into his own at age 22. He’s been slotted at the bottom of the Jays
lineup (batted ninth on Friday), but you can bet he’ll work his way into prime RBI territory if this production continues.
With six long balls already, he easily has the potential for a 25-dinger campaign. The rough April could drag down his final average, but there’s a good chance he’ll bat at least .280
the rest of the way.
In an unfortunate twist, Snider was placed on the 15-day Disabled List with a banged up wrist after this piece was originally written . Nevertheless, you should hit up the
waiver wire and stash him on your DL until he comes back in a couple weeks, as he’s available in 90 percent of Yahoo!
leagues right now.