See also: Previous Player’s Perspective: Pat Neshek
The Blue Jays went against their recent draft tendencies when they selected high school hitter Travis Snider from Jackson High, Everett, Wash., with the 14th overall pick in June. He signed for $1.7 million.
Hitting for power was a calling card of Snider’s game as an amateur, and the 5-foot-11, 245-pound right fielder is off to a .297/.368/.477 start through his first 111 at-bats for Rookie-level Pulaski. His five home runs rank third in the Appalachian League.
Snider’s Jackson High team narrowly lost out to The Woodlands (Texas) High–a team that featured Phillies’ first rounder Kyle Drabek–for the top spot in the Baseball America high school poll. Jackson finished undefeated at 27-0, while The Woodlands was 38-1.
Snider was kind enough to talk with Baseball America after a recent game in Burlington, N.C., in which he’d struggled at the plate.
On Jackson High being ranked No. 2 despite not losing a game: “The Woodlands had a great team, and I know they have a lot of top 5-A programs in Texas. It’™s where you think when you think about high school baseball . . . Texas, California, Florida. We were excited by our ranking. We watched the high school poll all year. We were excited to do something our school’™s never done before, but finishing No. 2 is like kissing your sister.”
On the differences between high school and the pros: “Here you see better pitchers, better prospects. And, of course, there’™s lots of bus trips. But I’™m happy I don’™t have to worry about school anymore. And I’™m honored just to be in a position to play the game I love. Everyone I know in pro ball told me minor league baseball is a grind until you get to the bigs. But you just have to grind it out. And in some of these small towns you just hope they have cell phone service.”
On being drafted by Blue Jays: “I grew up a Mariners fan. And, yeah, it would have been nice to get drafted by a West Coast team, because all my family and friends are there. But the Blue Jays scouted me probably the hardest, and I’™m honored to be a part of their organization. They’™re a great organization, all the way up. I’™m going to continue to work hard for them.”
On using wood bats: “I love swinging a wood bat. You get humbled a bit because your routine flies here aren’™t home runs. Here I’™m flirting with .300, when in high school you’™re used to hitting .500. I like the challenge, though, the adversity. Nothing compares to the feeling of driving the ball with wood.”
On goals for the season: “I want to continue to play hard and contribute to the team. We started off fast here, but we’™ve been struggling lately. I want to continue to have fun playing, and continue to build relationships in the game.”