For a year that started with high school baseball and ended in professional ball, it would be hard to top what Travis Snider accomplished in 2006.
In the spring, Snider helped Everett’s Jackson High School to a 27-0 record and a Class 4A state baseball championship. A few weeks later, he was selected in the first round of the major league draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, the No. 14 selection overall.
Which is why Snider was selected The Herald’s 2006 Man of the Year in Sports.
Snider already had been offered a scholarship to Arizona State University, but instead he opted to sign with the Blue Jays. Toronto helped clinch the deal by tossing in a signing bonus of approximately $1.7 million.
His summer, then, was spent playing outfield for the Pulaski (Va.) Blue Jays of the Class A Appalachian League and the 5-foot-11, 245-pound Snider never missed a step in the transition from preps to pros. Making a smooth adjustment from the aluminum bats used in high school to the wood bats used in professional ball, Snider had a stellar season.
In 54 games with Pulaski, Snider batted .325 (the fourth-best mark in the league) with 36 runs, 12 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs and 41 runs-batted-in. He had a .412 on-base percentage and an impressive .567 slugging percentage.
For statistics such as these, Snider reaped several awards at the end of the season. Among them, he was named the Appalachian League’s Player of the year, he was a Baseball America Rookie All-Star and a Topps Short-Season Rookie All-Star.
Obviously, he is a player who figures highly in the Blue Jays’ future plans. Toronto has promoted Snider, who turned 19 in February, to the organization’s full-season affiliate in the Class A Midwest League, the Lansing (Mich.) Lugnuts.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are (with Snider’s potential),” Charlie Wilson, Toronto’s manager of minor league operations, said in an earlier interview with The Herald.
What Snider achieved in 2006, Wilson went on, “was a great first season. … Our scouting staff (said) that he was going to be a player that had power potential, was a good hitter, had knowledge of the strike (and) good plate discipline, and he clearly had all of those things. He was also very good defensively.”
For his part, Snider was pleased with what he accomplished in his pro debut, but he is hardly content.
“For my first professional season, I went out and did what I needed to do,” he said in an earlier interview. “I’m definitely happy with my first season. but now it’s time to move on and get ready for next year.”