Former big league outfielder Travis Snider has signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, the team announced yesterday. He’ll hope to use the independent circuit as a launching pad back into affiliated ball — as many players before him have done.
Now 30 years of age, Snider is a former first-round pick of the Blue Jays (14th overall in 2006) that was touted as one of the game’s elite prospects throughout the entirety of his minor league tenure. Both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus placed Snider within the top 15 overall prospects in baseball on two separate editions of their annual top 100 rankings.
Snider made his big league debut at the age of 20 and impressed in a 24-game stint with the Jays, hitting .301/.338/.466 with a pair of homers in 80 plate appearances. It seemed as though he was on the cusp of cementing himself as a quality big league regular for years to come, but Snider was never able to maintain much consistency in the big leagues. He was eventually flipped to the Pirates for another struggling first-rounder: right-hander Brad Lincoln. While Snider had a solid 2014 campaign with the Bucs (.264/.338/.438, 13 homers), he cratered in Baltimore the following season and hasn’t been in the Majors since.
Snider did log useful numbers in Triple-A with the Rangers and Mets last season, hitting a combined .296/.375/.432 in 485 plate appearances. He’s also a lifetime .306/.387/.478 hitter at that level. Given his success in Triple-A, it stands to reason that a nice showing in the Atlantic League could open a door for Snider to land a minor league deal with a club in need of outfield depth in the upper minors.