Brandon Snyder rarely showed signs of being a first round draft pick during his first three years in the organization. Then, in 2008 with Frederick he posted an .848 OPS and looked to be on the verge of a breakout season. He made the jump to Bowie in 2009 where it appeared that breakout had finally happened in full. Snyder’s 1.018 OPS though 58 games in the Eastern League had some people calling him the Orioles’ first baseman of the future. His stellar play earned him a promotion to Norfolk where his performance went way downhill. He’s been on a decline ever since.
Originally drafted as a catcher, Snyder has moved from behind the plate, to third base, and now to first where he’s settled in nicely. The Orioles gave him some reps at catcher this past spring training, but I didn’t hear any reports on his defense. I doubt he sees any time there over the course of the season. At first base he’s above-average defensively. He’s athletic for his size and digs balls in the dirt well. He has mediocre range.
Snyder has a short, smooth, fluid, line drive swing and good timing. He has trouble with pitches on the inside of the plate where there’s a big hole in his swing. He needs to use his hands more and get through the zone faster. He’s a contact hitter who could hit 15-20 home runs as a starter, though most project him as a backup right now.
2011 will be a crucial year for Snyder as he tries to prove he’s still a legitimate first base prospect. He’ll return to Norfolk for the third year in a row.