Thursday, July 17, 2008

Prospect Report - Brandon Snyder

For our first prospect report I present to you Brandon Snyder, first baseman for the Frederick Keys who has far and away been the hottest hitter in the Carolina League over the past two weeks. He is currently riding a 17 game hitting streak and five straight multi-hit games. For the season the 21-year old right-hander is batting .310/.342/.482 (AVG/OBP/SLG).

So, who is Brandon Snyder? Brandon Snyder was the 13th overall pick out of high school in the 2005 draft, originally selected as a catcher. After a hot 2005, in 2006 Snyder struggled in low-A ball, ending the season with a torn labrum, ending his term as a catching prospect. From this injury Brandon had to move over to first base, and his stock as a prospect plummetted in the eyes of most fans and scouts. In 2007 Brandon fought back from the injury at Delmarva, gradually improving in what was an average season. His true entry back into the limelight came in the Hawaii Winter League in which he led the league with a .378 batting average. After a slow start this year at Advanced-A Frederick, Brandon has found his stroke and has been hitting the daylights out of the ball.

Strengths: Snyder has developed a very aggressive approach at the plate, but he is making it work for him. Brandon has the ability and the willingness to stroke the ball to all fields with developing power. There is some debate as to just how much power he can develop, but as a 21-year old he has hit 7 home runs on the year for Frederick and given his steady improvement in power (OPS has risen from .573 to .774 to .823 between 2006 and now), that shouldn't be a very large concern. Brandon has average defense at first, and many scouts feel he has a good enough arm and footwork to play third base. However, with Rowell at third base at Frederick Brandon Snyder has been limited to first.

Weaknesses: Strikeout to walk ratio is by far the biggest offensive concern for Brandon. In 284 at bats this year he has a 51:13 strikeout to walk ratio, very roughly a 5:1. While he has a good enough bat to afford the low walk totals for now, it is a concern moving forward. With quality coaching and experience the problem could be alleviated, however much of that aggression that makes him successful leads to the strikeouts. The other main weakness is his lack of speed on the basepaths, but that is acceptable for a corner infielder if the bat is sufficient.

Projection: Brandon Snyder is one of my personal favorite stories, because he came back against alot of negativity and early failings to make such huge strides as a player and a prospect. At 21 (22 in November) he is certainly young enough to warrant patience. Look for Brandon to move up to Bowie either late this year or at the start of next year, and possibly get time at third base. With a full year at Bowie, expect him to be in Baltimore in 2010.

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