Many Angels fans were saddened when they traded away a certain slugging first baseman who strikes out a lot and doesn't walk very much but has lots of power. Well… good news! The Angels have another one of those in the farm system and his name is Michael Snyder, our #24 prospect in the 2014 MWAH Top Prospects Countdown.
Position: 1B Highest Level: Advanced-A
Bats: R Throws: R Height: 6'4" Weight: 230
Age: 23 Born: 6/17/1990
2013 Rank: Unranked
2013 Season Stats
High-A: 590 PA, .280 AVG, .337 OBP, .506 SLG, 32 2B, 6 3B, 25 HR, 92 RBI, 149 SO, 0 SB, 1 CS, .337 BABIP, .361 wOBA, 115 wRC+
Contact = D+
Snyder has a long swing and can at times look as though he’s purely trying to muscle the ball. But I guess when you’re 6’4 and 230+ lbs that just comes with the territory. What also comes with the territory with that type of approach is more than your fair share of swings and misses.
Power = B+
Snyder’s a power hitter and his ability to hit the long ball will ultimately dictate whether or not he becomes a major leaguer someday. Luckily for Snyder, he can hit the EXTRA long ball. Very Mark Trumbo-esque. The ball just jumps off his bat different than it does most power hitters. He’s incredibly strong.
Discipline = D
Coming from college and not appearing lost on the strike zone in Rookie ball, I expected quite a bit more from Snyder in this area. The odd part is I really didn’t him swing at too many bad pitches, he just never walked. One key tool that usually separates power bats off the bench and starting 1B/DH in the major leagues is the ability to reach base via the walk. Snyder will definitely have his work cut out for him in this area as he moves up to AA.
Speed = C
Snyder isn’t a runner. Despite being athletic, he has heavy, inflexible legs that force him to use his upper body more than usual to get around the bases. He has average speed for now but that’s likely to decrease as he moves up a level. Luckily for Snyder, his success in the game isn’t predicated on speed.
Arm = B
Snyder actually has a very good arm for a 1B, which would explain why he was drafted initially as a 3B. If Snyder can somehow gain some mobility I could even envision him switching to the OF like Trumbo did in order to gain more playing time.
Fielding = B
Surprisingly Snyder was quite skilled at 1B. Many infielders when transitioning to 1B will make silly mental errors or won’t adjust to the path the ball takes to them from RHB. Snyder played it like a natural.
Range = C
I didn’t see anything to suggest Snyder was below or above average in his range as a 1B. As I said before, if he can improve his mobility, he may have the athleticism to make a switch to the OF if it gets him more playing time.
Performance = B
Granted it was a hitter friendly league but Snyder collected more than his fair share of extra base hits and even managed to bat .280. He has the type of power that should play moderately well in AA despite moving to an extremely pitching friendly environment next season. If his homers do happen to decrease but all else remains the same, fear not. It’s just the environment.
Projection = C
I like Snyder as a power hitter, but not so much that I see him playing everyday in the Major Leagues. Still, if he continues to hit the long ball he should be able to carve out a role as a power bat off the bench, which the Angels are currently in need of.
Grade as a Prospect = C+
He’s a little old for the level he’s at and there isn’t any physical projection left in his frame. Still, he’s a big, muscular power hitter that mashed 60+ XBH in his first full year in the majors. As I said, he’ll need to keep it up in the future to remain on this list and have a shot at the majors.
Estimated MLB Arrival Date = 2016
Assuming he progresses through one level per year, we could see Snyder in 2-3 years if he keeps it up.
2013 in Review*
Snyder drew attention for his power numbers in the California League as a he smashed 25 homers on the season to go with a very nice .225 ISO. That's nothing to sneeze at, but it has to be mentioned that the California League is a homerun launching pad. That doesn't mean that Snyder doesn't have power, but, despite my allusion to him in the intro to this profile, Snyder is no Mark Trumbo in the raw power department.
Unfortunately, Snyder might be a Mark Trumbo in the plate discipline department. He has a lot of work to do to account for his long swing as Snyder K'd in 25.3% of his plate appearances last season while only walking 7.3% of the time. Without making some major adjustments, those numbers are only going to get worse as he moves up in levels.
What got better this season for Snyder was his defense at first base. Snyder is frequently slapped with the back-handed compliment of "moves well for a guy his size," but, well, he moves pretty well at first base. He isn't anything special defensively, but he can more than hold his own and should only get better as he becomes more comfortable at the position.
Before you ask, no, Snyder is not an option at third base. That was his position when drafted, but he doesn't move that well. I know there is an undying impulse in baseball fans to move sluggers to third base if they can, but that just isn't an option for Snyder. Where he will be moving next year though is up a level to Double-A Arkansas. As with any hitter, that is going to be a huge test.
Snyder be facing a much higher level of competition in Double-A, the kind of competition that is going to do a much better job of exposing the holes in his swing. He'll have to cover those up fast if he doesn't want to see his already high whiff rate creep into major red flag territory. Additionally, Snyder is going to have the bounds of his raw power put to the test at Dickey-Stephens Park where power goes to die (just ask C.J. Cron). 2014 should give us a real look at whether Snyder really does have the kind of power that will play big in the majors or whether or not his numbers are just another California League mirage.
*As we do every year, the scouting reports and grades are provided by Scotty Allen while Garrett Wilson provides the 2013 in Review and Looking Ahead sections.