Prospect Q&A: Brian Snyder, 3B

Former A's first-round draft pick Brian Snyder had missed roughly 180 straight games before making the jump from Class-A Kane County two years ago on up to Double-A at the beginning of 2006. The third baseman was eventually sent back to Class High-A Stockton, where he was able to re-work his swing and put together a respectable season with the bat for the A's affiliate.

We caught up with the third baseman at the end of his season with Stockton to get his thoughts on the season, his progress as a hitter and his thoughts on next year...

Steve Holley: You started off at Midland for a couple of months before being sent down to Stockton. At the plate, how would you rate your season?

Brian Snyder: It's been kind of a struggle this year, starting off at Double-A and not doing so hot. At the All-Star break, I got moved to Stockton, where I had a chance to come back down and help my swing and get some confidence back.

SH: What did you do that really helped in that regard?

BS: Just working with the hitting coach at Stockton, and doing some drills. I had a real big problem trying to lunge forward and trying to go out and hit the ball without letting it come to me. He (Bush) has so much knowledge of hitting that it makes things a little easier.

SH: Switching sides to defense for a minute, how would your progress with the glove this year at third base?

BS: I think the main thing was I came into camp in good shape and ready to go. I spent a lot of time with Juan Navarrete and R.P. (Ron Plaza) with early work, working on angles and trying to be the best defensive third baseman I could – just trying to keep that same aspect throughout the year and trying to stay on top of my game as much as I could.

SH: When you were up at Double-A, how much of a difference could you tell between the pitching at Midland versus that at Stockton?

BS: Yeah, there's a difference, but the difference is they can maybe execute pitches a little better up there. Like I've told people, though, there are guys with just as good of stuff at High-A than Double-A. There are guys that can make a pitch here and there a little better there, but for the most part, I think it's just a small difference. It's not a huge, huge jump.

SH: You had 13 home runs two seasons ago. What would you say was the biggest thing about you that impressed the scouts when you were drafted back in ‘03?

BS: I think it was me hitting doubles. I had pretty good power in college, but nothing that would make your eyes stand wide open. I think the power potential that I have and the fact that I get on base and draw my walks and score a lot of runs is probably the biggest thing.

SH: Your OBP has always been solid. Do you take more pride in that than some of the other statistics?

BS: Yeah, honestly I do. It's very close, but I do see myself more of an on-base guy because I draw a lot of walks. Batting average kind of comes second, because I think when you have a good strike zone discipline, your average will follow that when you accustom yourself to getting good pitches to hit and doing something with them.

SH: You missed pretty much all of last year with an injury. What happened exactly?

BS: Yeah, I had a little oblique strain, which led to a torn groin while I was rehabbing that. My one or two at-bats was me trying to come back early, which led to me spending a lot of time on the trainer's table.

SH: Even though you were sent down from Double-A, this was still only your second full season and it seems like you're still right on track. Is that your take on it as well?

BS: Yeah, Double-A was a humbling experience, because going in, I don't know if people realized it, but I missed about 180 straight games. I missed the last 30 to 40 games at Kane County (in 2004) with a dislocated shoulder. To come in with the invitation to go to big league camp, and then to get hurt in Spring Training right before we were supposed to leave for the season and miss the whole year, it was quite a big jump to go from Kane County to Double-A.

Personally, I thought I could do it, but after my showing there, I knew I wasn't ready and had some flaws in my swing that I knew I needed to come to Stockton and work on it.

SH: We talked about the home runs you had a couple of years ago. Were you disappointed not to have more homers this year than nine?

BS: I am, but to an extent, when I started struggling in Double-A and came to Stockton trying to find my swing, home runs were the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to make solid, hard contact and hit some line drives. The power was starting to come back [toward the end of the year].

In one week, I hit two home runs and two doubles, so I know the power is still there; it's just a matter of getting everything going in sync and trying to find the home run power I had before. I'm not going to hit 30 home runs, but if I might hit 15 to 20, I'd be a happy camper.

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