For being relatively inexperienced in America's favorite pastime, the quiet Aussie took baseball by storm.
Just four months after signing a professional contract, a 17-year-old Snelling hit .306/.386/.498 in the Northwest League, smacking 10 home runs in just 69 games.
Barely a legal adult, Snelling lit the Midwest League on fire in 2000, duplicating his rate stats from his year in Everett.
The ensuing two seasons brought more of the same, as Snelling hit .336 in San Bernardino at the age of 19 and needed all of 23 games in Double-A San Antonio to earn a big-league call-up.
Snelling's path to the show was quick, but far from painless. He has played more than half a season just once in his minor league career, and has played less than 81 games in a year on four separate occasions.
The 114 games played he tallied in 2001 in the California League, is far and away his career best.
His '02 season, which began so promising with a .326 showing in 89 at-bats in the Texas League, ended in disaster when the 20-year-old tore the ACL in his knee just eight games into his major league debut.
Injury-riddled, jinxed, ill-fated or doomed, whatever the proper term, Snelling's future in the big leagues rides on his ability to stay healthy for long periods of time.
He's accomplished everything there is to do in the minors and has something in store for Safeco Field and the Mariners' faithful, should he get the chance.
There are very few talents in all of baseball that receive so many affirmative responses to inquiries that ask 'can he?'
The only 'no' in the offing is the question of whether he can avoid the disabled list.
If he can, he's an all-star. If he can't, he'll simply continue to be a cult favorite among hardcore Seattle Mariners fans.
|No. 3 – Chris Snelling, OF|
|Acquired: Signed as non-drafted free agent in 1999|
|Signed By: Mariners' scout Barry Holland|
2005: After starting the year 10 days late in Triple-A, Snelling ran off a memorable 65-game tear that made opposing pitchers check the transactions wire to see if he'd been called up yet.
No, seriously, many hurlers were doing just that.
The left-handed hitting outfielder played in 65 total games in 2003, 10 games in 2004 and rolled into Tacoma and shredded the league's best pitchers, including a .377 average with runners in scoring position – versus left-handers.
He had six game-winning hits after the sixth inning and often displayed his flair for the dramatic. Snelling spent most of '05 as the best bat in the Pacific Coast League before getting the call and again suffering injury.
Strengths: Snelling has one weakness and it's one that is completely beyind his control – health. He hits for both average and power, still hangs onto above average speed, has a center fielders instincts and a strong, accurate throwing arm.
But that's not all.
The 24-year-old has all the intangibles an organization could ever ask for in a young player – or any player. He works as hard as anyone in baseball, has a strong cerebral side to his golbal approach to baseball and never settles for anything less than the best from himself.
He's a favorite of every manager and coach in which he's ever played and it seems that no matter how many times he goes down with a crushing injury, he bounces back better than ever.
Weaknesses: Outside of his injury history, any citing of weakness is petty. Snelling runs out ground balls, makes a lot of contact, gets better every day and understands what is necessary for him to do his job. If he has another shortcoming it's that he plays too hard, though he's found a satisfactory medium to curb his freak accidents.