Injuries Still Can’t Get The Best Of Snyder

TAMPA, FL - If an injury exists, chances are Tampa first baseman Matt Snyder has endured it. Since his college days at Ole Miss, Snyder has battled a cocktail of afflictions including shoulder dislocations, shattered jaws, broken wrists, and torn hamstrings. Most recently, he suffered a torn thumb ligament that caused him to miss several weeks of this season.

Many would understandably feel the urge to give up after being pelted with malady after malady, but not Snyder. Just simply being in his presence you can tell that he’s the type of guy that will hold his head high regardless of his situation.

“I feel great these days man,” he said. “I missed almost two years [cumulatively] if you think about it and hadn’t played for a really long time coming into this year. I’m excited to be back out there.”

For Snyder, baseball is not just a dream profession, it’s a way of life. His father, Brian, played for Seattle and Oakland back in the 80’s and his two brothers are both professional baseball players as well. Giving up on baseball because of a few injuries is simply not an option.

When healthy, he’s flashed dominance. A former 10th round pick in 2012, Snyder wasted no time making a good first impression in the New York-Pennsylvania league. With Staten Island, Snyder hit .299 with 34 RBI in 170 AB’s and showed that he could be an effective, if not advanced hitter.

In the physicality department, Snyder stands at a lumbering 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and is blessed with a lot of raw power. If he can stay healthy, Snyder has all the tools to be a hard hitting guy who can consistently be a home run threat.

“He’s a confident hitter, a really powerful guy,” hitting coach P.J. Pilittere said. “Before the thumb injury this year he was starting to really figure it out. He was starting to backspin the ball the way he wanted to to the pull side.”

Another striking attribute is his ability to hit left-handed pitching particularly well. Dating back to his college days, Snyder has always seemed to find consistency against opposing southpaws.

“My dad was left-handed and I always faced him when I was doing my batting practice, so maybe that’s why,” Snyder remarked. “A lot of people say you’re not supposed to be able to hit lefties but to me it’s just another pitcher. Righties face righties all the time.”

Going forward, however, manager Al Pedrique would like to see some improvements in his defensive game.

“Defensively he needs to keep working on routine ground balls, working on one-hand drills. When you’re playing first base a lot of the plays you’re going to make are with one hand. We want to work on his hand and footwork coordination,” Pedrique commented.

Though Snyder is optimistic these days, his cataclysmic journey has tested both his patience and his psyche. And how could it not?

Snyder’s baseball career has been akin to firing up a car with engine troubles. Starting, stopping, starting back up, and stopping yet again.

This seemingly endless cycle has stifled any semblance of consistency and inhibited his development as a player.

Pilittere, a former professional catcher, knows exactly how excruciating it is to continually be knocked down.

“For him it has to be extremely frustrating. He’s had to deal with this ever since he signed. At some point he probably thinks ‘Oh God, not again.’ Especially because he was getting consistent at-bats and was having what looked like his most consistent season as a Yankee,” Pilittere lamented.

As mentioned before, Snyder is well aware of the time he’s missed. He can recant every injury he’s had in great detail and regale you with the story of why he has a titanium plate holding his face together. But that’s not where his focus lies.

He knows what he can do, and rightfully believes he has a lot of talent and potential. Therefore, it’s not so much about sticking it to the doubters or proving that he belongs, it’s about living in the now.

In this present moment, he is healthy. He has around 25 games left and will be platooning at first base with Reymond Nunez. It’s not the ideal situation, but it’s a chance, and that’s all you can really ask for in this highly competitive business. He’s been knocked down, but not knocked out of the ring.

“I’m not trying to show people anything. I’m not concerned with that,” he said confidently. “Every time I’m healthy I feel like I’m putting good work in and making good contact with the ball. I don’t want to act like I’m trying to go out there to prove something to everybody. I’m comfortable with who I am.”

He certainly doesn’t have to worry about proving anything to his manager. Al Pedrique would be the first to tell you how impressed he is with Snyder’s intangibles and potential.

“This kid has power. I think time will tell once he’s 100 percent healthy and has more playing time. He works extremely hard to get better; he’s always working in the cage with [Pilittere] to improve his mechanics. Hopefully he can finish this season on a good note.”

Thus far it looks like Snyder is making the best of his brief return, but his battle doesn’t end here. Finally healthy during the offseason, Snyder plans on building for 2015.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nMany would understandably feel the urge to give up after being pelted with malady after malady, but not Snyder. Just simply being in his presence you can tell that he’s the type of guy that will hold his head high regardless of his situation.
\r\n
\r\n“I feel great these days man,” he said. “I missed almost two years [cumulatively] if you think about it and hadn’t played for a really long time coming into this year. I’m excited to be back out there.”
\r\n
\r\nFor Snyder, baseball is not just a dream profession, it’s a way of life. His father, Brian, played for Seattle and Oakland back in the 80’s and his two brothers are both professional baseball players as well. Giving up on baseball because of a few injuries is simply not an option.
\r\n
\r\nWhen healthy, he’s flashed dominance. A former 10th round pick in 2012, Snyder wasted no time making a good first impression in the New York-Pennsylvania league. With Staten Island, Snyder hit .299 with 34 RBI in 170 AB’s and showed that he could be an effective, if not advanced hitter.
\r\n
\r\nIn the physicality department, Snyder stands at a lumbering 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and is blessed with a lot of raw power. If he can stay healthy, Snyder has all the tools to be a hard hitting guy who can consistently be a home run threat.
\r\n
\r\n“He’s a confident hitter, a really powerful guy,” hitting coach P.J. Pilittere said. “Before the thumb injury this year he was starting to really figure it out. He was starting to backspin the ball the way he wanted to to the pull side.”
\r\n
\r\nAnother striking attribute is his ability to hit left-handed pitching particularly well. Dating back to his college days, Snyder has always seemed to find consistency against opposing southpaws.
\r\n
\r\n“My dad was left-handed and I always faced him when I was doing my batting practice, so maybe that’s why,” Snyder remarked. “A lot of people say you’re not supposed to be able to hit lefties but to me it’s just another pitcher. Righties face righties all the time.”
\r\n
\r\nGoing forward, however, manager Al Pedrique would like to see some improvements in his defensive game.
\r\n
\r\n“Defensively he needs to keep working on routine ground balls, working on one-hand drills. When you’re playing first base a lot of the plays you’re going to make are with one hand. We want to work on his hand and footwork coordination,” Pedrique commented.
\r\n
\r\nThough Snyder is optimistic these days, his cataclysmic journey has tested both his patience and his psyche. And how could it not?
\r\n
\r\nSnyder’s baseball career has been akin to firing up a car with engine troubles. Starting, stopping, starting back up, and stopping yet again.
\r\n
\r\nThis seemingly endless cycle has stifled any semblance of consistency and inhibited his development as a player.
\r\n
\r\nPilittere, a former professional catcher, knows exactly how excruciating it is to continually be knocked down.
\r\n
\r\n“For him it has to be extremely frustrating. He’s had to deal with this ever since he signed. At some point he probably thinks ‘Oh God, not again.’ Especially because he was getting consistent at-bats and was having what looked like his most consistent season as a Yankee,” Pilittere lamented.
\r\n
\r\nAs mentioned before, Snyder is well aware of the time he’s missed. He can recant every injury he’s had in great detail and regale you with the story of why he has a titanium plate holding his face together. But that’s not where his focus lies.
\r\n
\r\nHe knows what he can do, and rightfully believes he has a lot of talent and potential. Therefore, it’s not so much about sticking it to the doubters or proving that he belongs, it’s about living in the now.
\r\n
\r\nIn this present moment, he is healthy. He has around 25 games left and will be platooning at first base with Reymond Nunez. It’s not the ideal situation, but it’s a chance, and that’s all you can really ask for in this highly competitive business. He’s been knocked down, but not knocked out of the ring.
\r\n
\r\n“I’m not trying to show people anything. I’m not concerned with that,” he said confidently. “Every time I’m healthy I feel like I’m putting good work in and making good contact with the ball. I don’t want to act like I’m trying to go out there to prove something to everybody. I’m comfortable with who I am.”
\r\n
\r\nHe certainly doesn’t have to worry about proving anything to his manager. Al Pedrique would be the first to tell you how impressed he is with Snyder’s intangibles and potential.
\r\n
\r\n“This kid has power. I think time will tell once he’s 100 percent healthy and has more playing time. He works extremely hard to get better; he’s always working in the cage with [Pilittere] to improve his mechanics. Hopefully he can finish this season on a good note.”
\r\n
\r\nThus far it looks like Snyder is making the best of his brief return, but his battle doesn’t end here. Finally healthy during the offseason, Snyder plans on building for 2015.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 3 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

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