Travis Snider‘s career numbers through age 25 are remarkably similar to the thoroughly unimpressive numbers of former Pirate Brandon Moss through the same age. But, in the last two years, at the ages of 28 and 29, Moss has hit a total of 51 home runs with a batting line of .269/.345/.550 — .895 OPS.
So, it would seem to make sense to wonder whether Travis Snider might still realize the considerable potential that got him selected 14th overall in the first round of the 2006 draft.
As I went looking through the numbers, I found one other outfielder who had remarkably similar numbers to Snider through age 25; Larry Hisle, who played for the Phillies, Twins, and Brewers in the 1970′s and ’80′s.
Here are the numbers, through age 25, that I consider to be the most relevant for projecting Snider’s future performance:
Snider / Moss / Hisle – Through Age 25
BB%: 7.9% / 8.0% / 9.8%
K%: 26.7% / 23.6% / 28.8%
HR%: 2.7% / 2.4% / 2.7%
Batting Average: .241 / .242 / .236
BABIP: .309 / .307 / .319
What does that tell us? All three had moderately high walk rates, high K rates, a moderate home run percentage, and a bad batting average – regardless of BABIP. And their major league futures were all in serious doubt after their age 25 seasons.
Moss, as stated above, bloomed at age 28. Hisle ended up playing in MLB for 10 more seasons and posted a career line of .273/.347/.452 — .799 OPS.
So, there is some reason to hope that Travis Snider will reach his potential, but, oddly, the best thing for his long-term future might be getting put on waivers, being passed over by every team in baseball, and ending up in the minor leagues for another full season. (Snider is out of options, so, he can’t be sent to the minors without first clearing waivers.)
Moss spent his age 26 and 27 seasons and part of his age 28 season at AAA. Hisle spent all of his age 25 season at AAA after being on the Phillies MLB roster for two full seasons.
At 26, Moss hit .266 with an .800 OPS and 22 HR at AAA. The following year he batted .275 at AAA with an .877 OPS and 23 home runs. He, then, had a .952 OPS and 15 HR in just 224 AAA at-bats before being promoted to the Oakland A’s at the age of 28. He never looked back. As I wrote above, Moss has hit 51 HR with an .895 OPS in the last season-and-a-half for the A’s.
Upon Hisle’s return to AAA at age 25, he hit .325 with a .972 OPS and 23 home runs. He, then, spent his age 26 season with the Minnesota Twins, hitting .272 with a .773 OPS and 15 HR in the American League.
I believe that Snider was rushed to the major leagues by the Blue Jays at the age of 20 and that his development was hurt by being bounced up and down for five seasons. Ironically, the best thing for his career, now, would be to spend his entire age 26 season at AAA.