The KC Royals signed 28-year-old corner outfielder Travis Snider to a minor-league deal on Saturday.
Snider is a former first round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays, whom Baseball Prospectus once ranked the no. 5 prospect in MLB, and Baseball America listed as no. 6 overall (both in 2009). However, Snider has never been able to realize the early promise many scouts projected for him, and has settled into a career as a fourth outfielder.
The left-handed hitting Snider has batted .244/.311/.399 over his career with an OPS+ of 93 (7% below a league average hitter). He has good pop at the plate, with 54 home runs and has two seasons with more than 13 home runs (2010, 2014).
Snider’s two best seasons came for Toronto in 2010, when he slashed .255/.304/.463 with 14 home runs in only 298 at bats at age 22, and with the Pirates in 2014 when he hit .264/.338/.438 as a part-time player.
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Overall, Travis Snider has shown only a moderate platoon split: hitting .243/.315/.399 vs. righties and .247/.290/.395 vs. lefties. Snider, however, has a pronounced home and away split of .264/.331/.440 at home against .224/.291/.359 on the road. Apparently, Snider requires familiar surroundings to thrive at the plate.
Snider figures to be no more than outfield depth with the Kansas City Royals. He will get a spring training invite, and will act as insurance in case bench players Paulo Orlando and Jarrod Dyson struggle with more time in the lineup and prospects Brett Eibner, Jose Martinez, and Bubba Starling aren’t ready for a big league job.
The Travis Snider signing continues Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore’s pattern of stocking depth ever since his team became a contender. Given that one or two games can make the difference between playing in October, or sitting on the couch, Moore has good reason to load AAA Omaha with experienced major-league players.
At 28, there’s still some (but not much) hope that Travis Snider can tap into the talent that scouts once saw in him. But, I doubt anyone in the organization is counting on him to become the KC Royals version of J.D. Martinez or Jose Bautista.
Dayton Moore appears to be filling in the corners of his roster, before pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Arizona for spring training February 18. The major moves seem to be in place.