Shorebird of the week 5-25-2006

Last year's Orioles first round pick Brandon Snyder is in the midst of his initial full season as a pro.

When you’re a team’s number one pick in the draft, you have a lot of expectations placed upon you. Just less than a year ago, current Shorebird catcher Brandon Snyder drew all that attention as he went from high schooler in Centreville, Virginia to well-paid pro in less than a month.

And Snyder got off to a pretty good start in his pro career, hitting .291 between Bluefield (44 games) and Aberdeen (8 games). He led all of the Orioles rookie leaguers with 41 RBI between the two stops as well.

2006 has been a little bit more of a struggle for the teenager (he’ll not turn 20 until November.) With a recent stint on the disabled list, Snyder’s been limited to playing in just 24 of Delmarva’s 44 games thus far. His lower offensive numbers also reflect the higher level of competition – he’s now playing against guys who are mostly 2 to 4 years older and more experienced. So a .240 average in 96 at bats isn’t terrible, and he’s kept a little bit of power with 3 home runs and 15 RBI to his credit. In fact, he’s the lone Shorebird who has more extra base hits (12) than singles (11).

Honestly I’m not so sure the Orioles are worried about the offense though. A large part of developing a catcher is teaching him to work with the pitchers and call a good game. And I’m certain that, like most catchers, something Snyder takes pride in is the success of the pitching staff. In that instance, Delmarva’s league-leading ERA should give Brandon something to smile at.

Being picked number one generally means you’re on a fast track to the Show. A few of the 2005 picks are already there or on the cusp of that dream. It’s likely going to take a little longer for Brandon Snyder to get there but the Orioles are going to give him every opportunity to grow into an eventual job behind the dish in Camden Yards. Right now they have Ramon Hernandez doing a four-year stint with the Orioles, but I’m sure in the back of their mind they’d like to see Brandon Snyder assume that role by the end of Hernandez’s contract in 2009.

Author: Michael

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