First baseman Brandon Snyder has been promoted to the Triple-A Norfolk Tides following the Bowie Baysox 2-0 win Thursday night over the Reading Phillies. He will be available for the Tides Friday night.
Despite battling a minor lower back injury that caused him to miss several games earlier in the season, Snyder hit .343 in 201 at-bats at the Double-A level and drove in 45 RBI, both good for second in the Eastern League. In addition to the batting average, Snyder leads the league in slugging at .597 and is the only hitter in the league with an OPS over one at 1.018 on the season.
"It's awesome," Snyder said. "I think the last time I got promoted was my rookie year out of Bluefield, so it definitely means a lot to me."
Snyder has seemed to answer every question that has been thrown at him. He has shown improvements in hitting for power, smashing 10 home runs, but more importantly, he is becoming a good defensive first baseman. He moved out from behind the plate to first in 2007 and defense has drawn the bulk of the criticism thrown his way.
"Obviously the offensive stuff has been there the last couple of years, but learning the new position has been tough and I still feel like I have a long way to go," Snyder explained. "But, I'm making big strides and I think that's what they're looking for."
Snyder has committed five errors on the season, but he has saved even more. He has gotten a lot better with his stride at first base and going out to get the ball instead of waiting for it to come to him. Dave Stockstill, the Orioles' director of player development, cited these improvements as a big reason for Snyder's promotion.
"He's gotten much more under control as he has gotten more confident," Stockstill said. "He's very good at picking balls out of dirt so he has very good hands. Where he still needs to continue to work is to work with his feet and keep his feet under him and not try to get too quick, but he's made outstanding progress with it."
The obvious, though is the hitting, and Stockstill also said that had as much of an impact on the decision to promote Snyder.
"He's really swung the bat very very well and he has made improvements on how he reads off-speed pitches," Stockstill said. "They're throwing him a lot of pitches that are out of the zone; he's matured a lot in taking the pitches and driving the ball all over the field, so we feel like it's the time that he could move up and make adjustments and compete at that level."
The hitting adjustments are not the only areas where Snyder will want to improve.
"Obviously I'm the best card player in the [Bowie] clubhouse, but it's going to be tough," Snyder said. "I heard they're pretty good up there, it's going to be tough not being able to beat everybody playing cards."
Snyder did admit it will be tough to leave the Bowie clubhouse and said it will be the camaraderie he will miss the most.
"It's hard for me to leave at night because it's always so much fun to hang out with these guys," Snyder said.
He will join former Baysox pitchers Jake Arrieta and Troy Patton who were both promoted to the Tides over the weekend and a corresponding move is expected to be announced Friday. As for what is in store in the future, Snyder had this to say:
"I'm excited to start the new adventure."