Brandon Snyder, first baseman
Is he ready to be Baltimore’s first baseman in 2011? How good a prospect is he?
No, he’s not ready; and right now, he’s a very marginal prospect. Two years ago, he was described as a right-handed-hitting Sean Casey. Last year, I thought he might become a right-handed-hitting Sid Bream. Now, I think he might become a right-handed-hitting Gerald Perry, which has no value.
Over the past season-and-a-half, Brandon Snyder has had 673 AAA plate appearances — about one major league season’s worth. His slash stats — .253/.321/.384. Granting that Norfolk is a terrible place to hit, and especially bad for a player of Snyder’s skill set, a player at that level of production (OPS+ of around 92) isn’t going to cut it as a first baseman. I’ve watched him fairly regularly for that past season-and-a-half, and those slash numbers really do tell how well he’s performed.
Brandon Snyder can be used as the subject of a philosophical debate about minor league promotions. He had had pretty good years at age 20 in Low-A and age 21 in High-A, and was being talked about as a prospect. In 2009, at age 22, he was assigned to AA Bowie, where he hit lights-out for the first two months (.343/.421/.597). It was here that the philosophical debate could/should have occurred. On the one hand, you could argue that Snyder had clearly established that he was too good for AA, and should be promoted to AAA. On the other hand, he was exceeding his established performance level by so much that he should be kept in AA to see if his improvement was for real, or just a hot stretch. Snyder was promoted, and has struggled ever since.
I think that for Brandon Snyder to have a major-league career, the Orioles should send him to AA, and keep him there for four months. For his sake, I hope he has a long period of success and develop habits that become ingrained into his person. Snyder needs to have some sustained success, and I don’t think he’ll get that at AAA or in the majors.