Speed isn't Pirates' Snyder's strong suit
BRADENTON, Fla. — Sometime soon, perhaps even one fine day this summer, Chris Snyder will take his lead off first base and think, "Aw, heck, why not?"
Snyder will inch a bit farther from the bag than usual, stealthily lean forward, wait for it ... wait for it ... and away he'll go. Will the opposing catcher be too stunned to make the throw to second base?
"I think that all the time," Snyder said. "But I'll never make it."
Snyder, 30, has played 596 major league games in seven seasons. He has been on first or second with the next base open 731 times. He has never stolen a base — never even tried.
"I think I'm getting close to some kind of record," Snyder said, laughing.
He's not so hot in other speed categories, either. Snyder has one career triple. His XBT rating — how often he advances more than one base on a single or two bases on a double — is a lead-footed 29 percent.
To try to quantify speed, sabermetrics guru Bill James created speed score, which combines several stats to compute a rating on a 1 to 10 scale. The average is 5. Last season, Snyder's tally was 0.7. His career score is 0.9.
"That makes me the slowest player in the majors?" Snyder asked, shaking his head.
Um, yes, actually.
"That is not true. Absolutely not true," Snyder said. "Just because Yadier Molina has more stolen bases than I do, it doesn't mean I can't beat him in a foot race. I think I can."
Molina, of the St. Louis Cardinals, had a speed score of 2.5 last season. He has swiped 21 bases in 37 tries in his career.
Snyder considered that for a moment.
"I'll tell you what — Yadi and I will be pretty close," Snyder said. "But if Bengie decides not to retire and comes back to play, I guarantee he'll be the slowest."
Bengie Molina, Yadier's older brother, has a 1.4 speed score in his 13-year career. The 36-year-old is 3 for 10 in steal attempts.
Given their emphasis on speed and taking some chances on the bases this season, can't the Pirates find a way to get Snyder one measly stolen base?
"That's a topic of discussion that's already come up in camp," manager Clint Hurdle said, grinning. "It was brought to my attention. You know what• We've just got to be smart when we pick a spot for him."
Snyder frowned. You can't blame him for having doubts.
"They told me they're going to get me some bags this year, so we'll see what happens," he said. "But I've been told the past six years that I'm going to get some bags, and I couldn't do it."
On the run
Top major league catchers, ranked by 2010 speed score and with a minimum of 350 plate appearances:
1. Miguel Olivo, Rockies: 6.1
2. John Jaso, Rays: 5.0
3. Russell Martin, Dodgers: 3.5
4. Jason Kendall, Royals: 3.3
5. Kurt Suzuki, Athletics: 3.2
5. Mike Napoli, Angels: 3.2
7. Jorge Posada, Yankees: 2.8
8. Buster Posey, Giants: 2.7
9. Yorvit Torrealba, Padres: 2.6
10. Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 2.5
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.