Rumor around the Diamondbacks front office had catching prospect Chris Snyder
possibly moving up to the big club next year. So much for rumors. The
hard-hitting, slick fielding catcher got the call every minor league player
hopes for yesterday and is now a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"It’s a great honor" said Snyder who batted .301 with 15 home
runs and 57 RBIs for the Diablos this year.
I got the call about 1 o’clock from Bob Miller [Diamondbacks Assistant
General Manager] and he asked me if I felt like catching a flight to Phoenix
tonight and I was pretty much speechless"
The move, which was necessitated by the season ending ankle injury to newly
acquired catcher Koyie Hill means the 23 year-old Snyder will be sharing time
behind the plate with Juan Brito starting today.
It also means the highly anticipated position battle between the two young
catchers (Snyder and Hill) will be starting a little sooner than expected.
"He’s a great player and a great catcher," said Snyder "It’s
just terribly unfortunate what happened to him and I really didn’t want it to
be this way for me to get called up, but that’s just the way everything turned
out. I just hope everything works out good for him."
Snyder had an idea he’d be moving up when he heard about Hill’s injury
after his Tuesday night game against the Arkansas Travelers (Anaheim) but he was
planning on a ticket to Tucson to play with the Triple-A Sidewinders; the
organization had different plans.
"It was a surprise definitely," said Snyder. Ansman [Tuscon catcher
Craig Ansman] is having a great year. He’s a great catcher and a great hitter.
He’s a little bit older than I am, more experienced, and been around in pro
ball a little bit longer. To tell you the truth when I got on the phone with Bob
Miller it was actually a shock that I was skipping Triple-A, and going all the
way up… I’m just happy the way everything turned out."
As big as this promotion is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg on what’s
been a great year for Snyder.
"I’ve been truly blessed this year. Going into spring training I felt
this was going to be a good year. It started off slow but I got back into a good
routine and it just took off from there," said the Texas League all-star.
"I’m just looking forward to what’s coming up with my wife since we are
expecting a little boy in November. It’s just something to look forward to and
I just try to keep that in mind and knowing that if I go 0-4 one night it doesn’t
really matter. There is a lot more important things out there that I have to
take care of and I’m basically going to the ballpark everyday, showing up and
having fun. That’s all it’s been this year."
The day before the announcement, Diablos manager Scott Coolbaugh said that
Snyder wasn’t that far away from joining the Diamondbacks. "It’s just a
matter of time for him and opportunity," Coolbaugh said Tuesday. "He’s
had a tremendous year. He’s made considerable strides forward and has improved
defensively as a catcher. Offensively he’s always been one who’s been known
to swing the bat."
The opportunity might have arrived a little sooner than expected for the
right-hander but he’s excited about the challenge.
"I’m just going to go up there and try to do a good job behind the
plate, try to help out the older pitchers and get a few hits here and there and
if everything works out right, hopefully I can stay there until the end of the
season," he said.
Replacing Snyder on the Diablos roster is utility infielder Keoni DeRenne who
batted .306 with 10 homeruns and 31 RBIs for the Sidewinders this season.
(Special thanks for this article go to Mike Lindskog, El Paso Diablos,
director of promotions)