- Full name Christopher Ryan Snyder
- Born 02/12/1981 in Houston, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Houston
- Debut 08/21/2004
Drafted in the 2nd round (68th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002 (signed for $567,000).
View Draft ReportSnyder profiles as a third-round talent, but he could go as high as No. 28 to the Mariners, who drafted him in the 43rd round out of high school. That's a testament to this draft's catching, and to Snyder's catch-and-throw skills, which might be the best in the country. He handles a staff well and has some power in his bat. He has made improvements this year with his swing and his body (6-foot-3, 224 pounds). Some scouts think his swing is too long and leaves him vulnerable to inside fastballs, and he didn't help his cause by batting .175 with wood for Team USA last summer. Others think he's overrated and needs to be more active and agile behind the plate.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Snyder was already on the fast track entering 2004, when his timetable was moved up quite a bit. Following the trade of Brent Mayne and an injury to Koyie Hill, Snyder became Arizona's starting catcher for the final part of the season. He hit five homers in his first 14 big league games. Snyder has value both at the plate and behind it. He's a big, strong catcher with plus power and an advanced understanding of the strike zone. He's also a solid receiver with good actions and a strong arm. He has good instincts and natural leadership tendencies, with Randy Johnson praising him for his ability to call a game. Whether Snyder develops into a frontline catcher depends on his ability to hit for average. His long swing leads to plenty of strikeouts. He's a well below-average runner. The Diamondbacks don't want to enter 2005 with a pair of rookie backstops. Snyder will battle Hill for the starting job in spring training, with the loser heading to Triple-A.
Snyder rated as the best defensive catcher in the 2002 draft and has proven why during his two pro seasons. He receives balls well with his soft hands and blocks pitches adroitly with an agile and strong body. He also knows how to handle a staff and call games, which he has done since his days in college. His strong, accurate arm and quick release can quiet the running game. He threw out 29 percent of basestealers in 2003 after catching 39 percent in his debut. Snyder began his second pro season repeating high Class A and put up excellent offensive numbers, but fell flat after a move to Double-A. His struggles were attributed to both the advanced pitching and Snyder's conditioning. He has shown a pattern of wearing down in late July as the rigors of catching more than 100 games take their toll. Snyder must get in better shape and increase his endurance if he's to handle 130 games as an everyday catcher in the majors. His swing can be long at times, but Snyder has the bat speed and loft to hit 20-25 home runs annually. He also makes consistent contact and has enough plate discipline to hit for a solid average as well. Snyder will make a second try at Double-A in 2004.
Snyder immediately became the best catch-and-throw guy in the organization after he signed. That's a testament to his skills behind the plate rather than a shot at the rest of the catchers in the system. A big man with a Carlton Fisk-type body, Snyder is mobile and quick with soft hands. He receives the ball well and already has learned how to frame pitches on the corners. He uses his feet well and does a fine job of blocking balls in the dirt. His arm strength is good, and his release is quick and accurate. Snyder also has all the intangibles teams want in a catcher. He calls his own game, as he did at Houston, and has strong leadership traits. The loft in his stroke bodes well for his power, which he displayed often during his pro debut in high Class A. Snyder's swing can get long, which hurts his ability to make contact and hit for average. Rod Barajas was the Diamondbacks' first homegrown catcher to reach the majors, and Snyder has a chance to be the second. He'll spend most of 2003 in Double-A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Snyder finished the year in the big leagues as the Diamondbacks evaluated the entire 40-man roster in a 100-loss season. He seems to have the upper hand on Koyie Hill, acquired from the Dodgers, in the race to be Arizona's catcher of the immediate future after his strong season with the Diablos. Snyder is a solid average receiver who handled pitchers with big stuff (Jesse Crain, Ryan Wagner) at the University of Houston, and he has become more consistent, making him an average catch-and-throw guy with a solid average arm. Where Snyder improved most was at the plate, where an adjustment in his hands during his swing gave him a more consistent load and helped him drive balls more consistently this season. "He's country strong and more agile than he looks back there," Brundage said. "When he gets his arms extended, he can hit it out anywhere."
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004