The Mockingbird

Good News/Bad News

with 6 comments

Ok, first the good news. Which is obviously not coming from the JAys’ big-league team…In a post over at ESPN insider, Jason Grey gushes about Travis Snider and points out why him hitting .263 cannot in any way be considered “dissapointing” when he’s the third-youngest player in the league and showing “light-tower” power. It’s a long, interesting article and includes a couple of quotes from the man himself on everyone’s favorite (*cough* overrated *cough*) ability- going the other way:

“Last year, I saw that my highest percentage of base hits are going the other way,” Snider said, “because pitchers aren’t going to bust you in on your hands very often because that’s the pitch you turn on and make a name for yourself. I looked at my spray chart and saw a lot of my success came on the left-center gap and down the left-field line, which is something I’ve always been able to do.”

“I got the best piece of advice I ever got hittingwise from Matt Williams [his AFL coach]. He said ‘for RBI guys, your approach has got to be up the middle. It’s the biggest part of the field and the most room to be able to put the ball in play without someone catching it. If you can stay up the middle, especially with guys on base, it gives your team a chance to score runs.’ To me, that made a lot of sense. I’d heard it a hundred different ways, but the way he put it clicked for me, and that’s what I try to do. I try not to get too caught up in pulling the ball 500 feet when you can go 380-400 in the left-center gap for a double or a homer.”

This year, Snider has gotten away from doing that a bit too much, rolling over a lot of balls to the right side of the infield, perhaps pressing a bit as he hasn’t been mashing as much as he did in the low minors.

“Sometimes you get into an approach where you start to try and pull pitches too much and you start to hook and pull,” Snider said, “so a big part of my development has been working to stay up the middle with pitches and allow my natural swing to work and my hands to react.”

Grey also confirms that although he was healthy enough to play, Snider’s elbow was causing him mechanical problems earlier this season that lead to his slow start.

Speaking of mechanics, here’s the bad news, that I’m sure you’ve already heard but not lathered up with enough doom and gloom.

“It’s not strength — it’s not flexibility,” Rolen said. “The problem is the mechanical functioning of my shoulder. It’s not functioning properly — the way a normal shoulder is supposed to function.”

Ok, so third baseman for the next three years is going on a rehab program even though the problem isn’t strength or flexibility. Lovely. “The trend has been too familiar the last few years” sent some chills down my spine as well.

Before the season, Rolen said that the real test would be if he could get separation of his hands from his body during his swing. Last year he couldn’t get his hands back and out, which threw off his mechanics and sapped power. Well, he’s had an almost identical year at the plate so it’s safe to say that it wasn’t the scar tissue that they cleaned out that had been causing that – his shoulder is just fucked permanently.

I was all for this trade because the Toronto medical staff was absolutely glowing about his physical condition, to the point where it seemed like they thought they knew something that the Cards didn’t about the shape of his shoulder. It tells you something about even the best sports doctors to evaluate something tricky like the range of movement required to not just function, but do so at an elite level.

Meanwhile, Troy Glaus has played every game but two this season and is mashing the ball after getting off to a slow start.  Maybe he was right and the turf would have exacerbated his Plantar Faciitis, but right now it looks like the Jays have been left given a good old fashioned hosing in this round of “trade the cripple”…


Written by halejon

July 31, 2008 at 8:52 am

Posted in Blue Jays

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. Glaus would have been gone after this year and we still don’t have a 3B prospect. I guess we could have had Jorge Cantu for next to nothing, but who saw that coming?


    July 31, 2008 at 2:01 pm

  2. It would still be better to have the 11 mil for two years and the prospects if Glaus had walked the way Rolen is now…


    July 31, 2008 at 2:05 pm

  3. Sure, and the fact that we don’t have a 3B prospect is itself an indictment of JP, but what 3Bs are going to be on the free agent market this offseason?


    July 31, 2008 at 2:21 pm

  4. Yeah, that’s really, really, gross. Bring back KOSKIE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hank Blalock * TEX
    Joe Crede CWS
    Morgan Ensberg NYY
    Chipper Jones * ATL
    Corey Koskie MIL
    Greg Norton TB

    (club options)


    July 31, 2008 at 2:37 pm

  5. Pretty sure Koskie’s not really going to be on the free agent market.


    July 31, 2008 at 3:12 pm

  6. The thing that has really worried me about Rolen this year is it seems like it takes almost everything he’s got to get the ball to the track. I noticed yesterday on baseball-reference that he leads officially qualifying Jays in at bats per home run, at 49.5 or something.

    Always loved the guy. I’ve been hamstringing my fantasy teams with him all year–until yesterday.

    What Snider says about minor league pitchers staying away was brought up by Lind in a radio interview last week. Lind pointed out that most minor-leaguers don’t have the fastball to come inside and not get killed, and they also don’t have the scouting reports to tell them who’s vulnerable inside. He also said that he used to try to guide the ball the other way, but one of the coaches–maybe Murphy–got him to see that if you have the right swing, if it’s away you’ll hit it the other way and if it’s in you’ll pull it.

    Cincinnatus C.

    July 31, 2008 at 5:35 pm

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