While we continue to wait for baseball and the Pittsburgh Pirates to come back, we will take a look at yet another Pirate prospect in the form of Jake Snider
In today’s day and age, most of your casual baseball fans, when they pay attention to the farm system, if at all, will look at their team’s top 30 lists. If you’re a hardcore minor league nut like me, you should enjoy this next prospect profile on the Pittsburgh Pirates 20th round pick from 2019’s draft in left fielder Jake Snider.
Snider is from the great state of Iowa and attended the University of Louisville from 2017-2019. Going into his freshman year at Louisville, he was regarded as being extremely patient at the plate and came with a short compact swing that could be advantageous to a power game. The power never seemed to come with only one home run, but his patience showed with only 14 strikeouts in 61 plate appearances.
In 2018 he showed his patience again but on a more grand scale. In 297 plate appearances, he walked 14% of the time with 43 walks drawn and only 53 strikeouts. His slash line was rather impressive, too, slashing .300/.423/.383 and an OPS of .807. His power, however, didn’t show up with only 15 extra base hits and two of which were homers.
Snider’s final year with Louisville took a bit of a dip despite being called “postseason Jake” for his home run in the playoffs, which is a good sign for Pittsburgh Pirates fans needing more clutch hitters to come up. His line wasn’t terrible reading .283/.383/.385, as well as his OPS dipping 38 points from last year. His strikeout was a tick below 18%, with 57 strikeouts in 317 plate appearances again showing patience.
Due to Louisville being in the college baseball playoffs, Snider’s time with the Bristol Pirates was a bit delayed signing four weeks after the initial draft period. He initially started out very sluggish in his debut month in July batting only .200 and a below-average .533 OPS and seven strikeouts. The good news in all of this is it was only four games, so no need to hit the panic button just yet.
Just as I tell you this, his August was a memorable one for the 21-year-old left fielder. He slashed .323/.450/.415 and an outstanding OPS of .865. To go along with the praising of Snider, let’s talk about his splits the lefty in 79 plate appearances against opposing right-handers hit a respectable .279 and an OPS of .747. Against his fellow southpaws, he tore the cover off the ball with a .417 as well as a god-like OPS of 1.048, now before you get excited take these numbers with a grain of salt; he only had 19 plate appearances against lefties.
On the advanced side of the game, Snider showed he was capable hitter as well. With a 17% walk rate, a wOBA of .386, and 34 points above average for wRC+. One concern with Snider is his groundball rate which was at an alarming 74.2%, but like I’ve been saying, everything needs to be put in perspective very limited sample size with 98 plate appearances. His spray chart shows off his patience, with 45.2% of his batted balls go to the opposite field.
This young 21-year-old prospect has the makings to be on the fast track to the Majors if he continues to show his on-base ability and continues his patience at the plate. The 2020 season will be a telltale sign of how fast they want to develop Snider if he ends up in Low-A Greensboro or higher I’d say he’s well on his way.