InsideTheDome: What is your first impressions of Lansing and the Midwest League in general? I know the weather has been kind of trying, but ignoring that, what do you think?
Travis Snider: Well first off, obviously it has been really cold but this is a little different place than where I was at last summer (Pulaski). I'm just happy to be here. We have a great team in a great city with a great ball park. I think this is going to be a really good league. There are a lot of really nice places to play. For me, I'm just excited to be here.
InsideTheDome: I don't know if you have had a chance to look around the league, but there are some top arms in the MWL this year. Is getting a chance to challenge yourself against some of these guys something that you are looking forward too?
Travis Snider: Most definitely. The better the pitching that you face in the early part of your career, the better you are going to be down the road. You can say that you have seen this guy, or you are probably going to face that guy again as you progress at the same rate. For me, I'm excited to get the opportunity to face the Clayton Kershaw's (#2 Dodger prospect for the Great Lakes Loons) and some of those other top high school and college arms that were in the draft last year. I just want to go out there and see how things go.
InsideTheDome: With the cold weather that we have been having and the fact that you strained your back in spring training, have you found yourself doing any extra stretching or things like that prior to games?
Travis Snider: Really it is just continuing what I have been doing and not giving up on it because I'm not playing in hot and humid weather where I am real loose and my back is not tight. I haven't had any problems since I have been up here. We have a great trainer up here. I was with Bob Tarpey (Lansing trainer) last year in Pulaski and we have a real good relationship. We are able to communicate pretty well and get things taken care of. He's been great getting me in for treatment and getting me prepared every day to step out onto the field without worrying about getting injured.
InsideTheDome: Speaking of Pulaski, what did you learn from your experience in rookie ball and what sort of adjustments did you make coming into this season?
Travis Snider: I think for me, it is just getting used to the life style of professional baseball. That is the biggest change. It's not just on the field, it is your daily preparation and your living situation. I went from living in a hotel to living in a house and being a little more comfortable. Just being able to get yourself through the ups and downs on the field by making the right decisions off the field on getting enough sleep and having a routine. The Blue Jays are a great organization. They stress a lot about your daily routine is what is going to carry you through. Especially during a 140 game season like we have here. For me, that was the biggest thing I learned last season and also in instructional league and even spring training (baseball 101 and all that kind of stuff). You play it every day and you are going to have an 0-for-7 or 0-for-10 streak or you are striking out a bunch, it is just about staying consistent with your approach and your routine and just allow those kinds of things to carry you through the ups and downs.
InsideTheDome: Coming from high school where you swing an aluminum bat, how do you feel you have adjusted to the feel of swinging a wood bat?
Travis Snider: To be honest, I was comfortable. I swung wood so much in batting practice situations during my high school season working out for teams and stuff like that. Last season getting to pro ball, I hadn't seen live pitching in a month so for me that was the biggest adjustment from playing in my high school championship game to my first game in Pulaski. Hitting .300 with a wood bat is like hitting .450 or .500 with an aluminum bat in high school. For me, it was something that I felt excited to be able to do because I felt physically that I would be able to handle the wood bat and there is nothing sweeter than making solid contact with a wood bat and watching the ball fly off of it.
InsideTheDome: Going into the draft last season, what were you hearing about where you would go and are the Blue Jays the team that you expected to take you in the first round?
Travis Snider: There was a lot of talk going into the draft about where I was going to go. As my high school season and my work outs progressed, that was when the first round talk became more prevalent. There were some clubs that were interested and the Blue Jays were definitely one of them. The biggest thing that we knew as a family was that playing in front of J.P. (Ricciardi) was going to be the deciding factor on whether or not the Blue Jays were going to seriously consider me in the first round. I was able to get over to Toronto and experience the big league field and hit batting practice off of J.P. and work out with some of the college pitchers. My goal was to just go up there and put it all out in front of them and let them make the decision. As things progressed in the first round, before the Blue Jays pick, is when they gave me the phone call that I was the next guy on the board and we are going to take you. At about pick 11, they told me that they were going to take me with the 14th pick. They are definitely the team that was the most interested I think, but at the same time there were still a lot of things that had to fall in place. I couldn't ask to be in a better place or a better organization, so I think things worked out for the best.
InsideTheDome: Being a first round draft pick, do you feel any added pressure in this situation to perform, especially know that you are one of the guys that opposing teams are preparing a game plan for?
Travis Snider: It's kind of a situation that I have been blessed to be in my whole life, having other teams plan strategy and opposing pitching coaches really study my swing. I like it because it is more of a challenge for me to go out there and know that this guy is thinking twice about the pitches that he is going to throw me. With Brian (Pettway) and Josh (Bell) and all the great hitters around me, it takes a little bit of that pressure off of me just because I know that I can go 0-for-3 or 0-for-4 and we are still going to get a win. To me, that is the most important thing. To me, the stats and everything else are going to take care of themselves. Whether it is going to be the best season I have ever had or it just being an okay year, just as long as we are winning baseball games and having fun- that is all that I can ask for.
Prospect Pulse: Part I Q&A with Travis Snider
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