Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wells smacks milestone home run

It's hard to believe with all the trials and tribulations that Vernon Wells has had in his 12 year major league career, spent entirely with the Jays, that he's closing in on significant club records for home runs and runs batted in. Friday night, V-Dub reached a milestone mark, smacking his 200th home run in a Blue Jay uniform, leaving him four long balls away from leap frogging George Bell (202) and Joe Carter (203) into second spot in franchise history.

The two run dinger Wells hit off Trevor Cahill in the fifth inning also marked RBI's 740 & 741 in his career, moving him past Bell into second place on the Jays all-time list. He's still got a long way to go to be #1 in homers and RBI, however, with Carlos Delgado firmly holding on to top spot with 336 home runs and 1,058 runs batted in. Strangely Vernon has never really been shown the love in Toronto (though the $126 million dollar contract and two poor seasons can account for most of the blame)

It really doesn't seem plausible that Wellsy will be second on both lists in the near future because it doesn't feel like he's been that great for that length of time. Vernon, fully healthy for the first time in years, has put together a solid year in 2010 and has finally stepped out from the shadow of the departed Roy Halladay to be the leader of "his team." He deserves a lot of credit for his longevity, even if he hasn't exactly lived up to that massive contract or led us to a championship. Yet.

Snider slowly finding his way with Blue Jays

Make no mistake about it, Travis Snider is having a very rough year for the Blue Jays. That much is obvious. The '06 first rounder is hitting a paltry .155 with just 3 home runs and 5 RBI's in 21 games. However, there have been positive signs that the youngster is slowly, but surely, coming around in his development for Toronto.

The more telling sign is from a stark reduction in his strike out rate this year compared to the two previous campaigns. In 2008, Snider whiffed 23 times in 73 at bats (for a 31% punch out rate) Then in '09 that number inched up to 32 percent when he racked up 78 K's in 241 times to the dish. This year, however, Snider has only been ringed up 17 times in 71 at bats, for a much improved 23% clip. Snider has been much more patient and selective at the plate this year, and has begun to hit balls very hard, the most recent example being the no doubt about it solo bomb against the A's Thursday.

The other factor to consider is that Snider is only 22 years old. Most players his age are in their senior years in college or in high level A ball. His situation is comparable to blossoming star Adam Lind, who realized his potential in his fourth year after falling on tough times at the major league level. Give Snider time, because the signs are there that he'll become a budding star just like Lind. Even if it doesn't quite look that way just yet.