Snyder's Approach And Career Get Aggressive

Justin Snyder is going to be taking less pitches

Already one of the bigger story lines for the 2009 season has been Justin Snyder's ability to skip the high-A level and jump right into the Double-A mix, a feat seldom accomplished. But while his career path certainly has turned aggressive these days, he says so will his approach at the plate.

"I was just excited," Justin Snyder said when learning of his promotion. "I'm excited about playing actual baseball rather than playing in Spring Training, especially coming to Double-A. I'm just kind of putting together pieces of a dream."

The former 21st round pick had a solid first full-season a year ago by hitting .288 with 33 doubles and 77 runs scored for the Charleston Riverdogs, but he wasn't exactly considered one of the top prospects on the team.

But the natural second baseman can also play centerfield, third base, and even some shortstop in emergency situations, and it's because of his versatility that he knew early on that there existed the possibility of making such a jump in levels.

"Probably at the beginning of camp when I saw that the competition was between me, [Damon] Sublett, and [Matt] Cusick because Reegie [Corona] was gone," he said. "Pat Roessler [the Farm Director] came up to me and told me there was a chance I could be making the jump."

Finding out so early in camp that a proverbial door was open to seize a rare opportunity would put some pressure on most players, but Snyder says he took it as a challenge to learn more about the game.

"There was no real pressure but you know it's there [somewhat]," he said. "It's still playing baseball. There's still different things you've got to learn, especially hitting-wise. You know a pitcher can throw any pitch at any time.

"Pressure-wise, no, but it was just learning more of the game. That was the only thing that was different for me."

Still a bit unsure about his impending role with the Trenton Thunder, the former Riverdogs second baseman wasn't exactly thrilled with his Spring Training but he is happy he did enough to secure one of the final Double-A roster spots.

"It went alright. I struggled here and there, which is a given for Spring Training. It's going to happen. I thought I did pretty good though. I thought I competed well for that spot. I guess I did good enough for them to send me up here."

His manager in Charleston last year pretty much predicted last season that Snyder was ready for the Double-A level so it doesn't come as shock to some team insiders that he's on his way north this season.

"As far as Justin goes, I think he is what he is. What I mean by that is, if you threw him up in Double-A right now he'd be doing the exact same thing up there that he's doing down here," Riverdogs skipper Torre Tyson told back on August 18th.

Known for his big league strike zone judgment and patient approach, Snyder's time with the Trenton work group in Spring Training has already taught him one major adjustment he'll need to make at the higher levels.

"Pretty much up here you've got to take what they give you," Snyder opined. "You can't really be too picky, taking a lot of pitches and getting beaten in the counts and getting finished off.

"It's a lot tougher to battle these pitchers. They'll throw anything at any time. Just being a little more aggressive earlier in the count – if you get a fastball you better not miss it."

Almost assuredly expecting to see a lot more strikes in the Eastern League than he had seen in the South Atlantic League a year ago, he's planning on being a lot more aggressive in the batter's box this coming season.

"My walk numbers will probably be down a lot and that should be the same with strikeouts too because I'm going to be getting pitches to hit a lot more often. I'll probably start being a lot more aggressive than I usually am," he concluded.

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