Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Travis Snider update

The Blue Jays prized prospect Travis Snider was sent down to AAA Las Vegas two weeks ago to fix the long and loopy swing he developed in his first full campaign at the major league level. After a scintillating spring training, and a strong first 9 games to start April, in which he had 3 home runs and 9 RBI, he scuffled mightily at the plate.

The club was hesitant to continue having Snider with the team, given the slate of interleague games they play in June, and because he wasn't playing every day, sitting against left handed pitching. The thinking was that the 21 year old Snider would benefit from regular action with Las Vegas, gain that confidence back, and learn to trust his swing again.

The early results haven't been all that promising with Las Vegas. In a small sampling of just 8 games, the powerful lefty has been anything but that, batting a pedestrian .258, with zero home runs and 2 RBI. His other Achilles heel, the strike out, hasn't exactly improved just yet, with him striking out in just under 30% of his at bats (10 in 31 plate appearances)

There's no reason to push the panic button yet because the kid will be something special. The Jays haven't indicated how long it'll take him for Snider to return to the Blue Birds, but it's entirely possible that if he continues to struggle, it might be a while.

Could Purcey return to the rotation?

After David Purcey was sent down to AAA following his miserable control issues in the first month of the Jays season, it seemed like it might be a very very long time until he came back north of the border. With the Jays having quite a few young hurlers waiting to burst though to make it to the starting rotation, and after Purcey's horrendous first couple starts with AAA Las Vegas, it seemed plausible that he might be passed over in the clubs future plans.

However, the big southpaw has found his game down in the minors and might just be putting himself back on Toronto's radar should Ricky Romero continue to struggle. In 5 of the 6 starts since the demotion, Purcey hasn't allowed more than 2 earned runs, while his shortest outing in that span was 5.1 innings, posting a solid 3.50 ERA overall. If you throw out his horrendous second start, in which he gave up 8 earned runs in 2.1 innings, that ERA would be sparkling.

Purcey has the tools to be an effective major league starter. He displayed that last year, and occasionally this season. If he should continue his strong play, and limit his walks (20 in 36 innings pitched), he could find himself back with the Jays sooner rather than later.