Let’s do some hypotheticals. It’s the end of your mixed league 2010 fantasy baseball draft and you’re looking to fill in the last spot in your outfield or your utility. You see random fifth wheel candidate that will do exactly what you expect him to do. Think Juan Rivera, Mike Cameron, Luke Scott, Scott Luke, Tony Luke, Luke Whatever and Travis Snider. You draft Travis Snider. This is as much about what Travis Snider can do in 2010 as overall fantasy baseball drafting strategy. I’ll get to Snider’s projections in a minute. For right now, let’s talk about why you’re avoiding the fifth wheel outfielder/utility man. Snider’s potential is unknown. Snider hits 6 homers by the end of April? You trade him for a cold-hitting vet, think Lance Berkman or a cold starter, think Wainwright if he starts off cold. Juan Rivera hits 10 homers in April and no one, including Juan Rivera, will think he can keep it up and you’re not trading him for anything. This doesn’t just go for Snider. It goes for players at the end of the draft with potential. Always be looking for upside. I’ll touch on this more as we get further into drafting season. So now about Snider’s potential. Why is Travis Snider a 2010 fantasy baseball sleeper?
Snider has 1313 at-bats in the minors with a slash line of .304/.382/.533. I know what you’re thinking. If Dan Brown books are terrible, why do I keep reading them? Hmm, I thought you were thinking something else. I figured you were surprised by the number of at-bats Snider’s had in the minor leagues. It is a lot of at-bats. A career minor leaguer? Grey’s hitting the Schnapps! Nope, Snider doesn’t turn 22 years old until February 2nd. February Grey is actually sending him an eCard right now. A 22-year-old with that much experience in the minors and that nice of a line is someone to keep an eye on. The Blue Jays have no reason not to give him every opportunity to succeed again in 2010. But that doesn’t mean all ball clubs use reason. They may opt to platoon Snider. Luckily, he’d get the righties. If he hits them, he’ll get the lefties. It’s a gamble, but it’s a good gamble to take. I’d cautiously project a line of 75/24/85/.265. He can do what Adam Lind did in 2009. Probably not, but he’s still far more exciting than the usual fifth wheel schmohawk.