Snider Capable of Adding Defensive Value

Corner outfield is one of the many question marks heading into 2013, but Starling Marte and Travis Snider appear poised to take the starting jobs.

Snider, acquired from Toronto for Brad Lincoln on July 31st, was slowed by injuries down the stretch. We were intrigued when we saw he was named a breakout candidate earlier this week by Baseball Prospectus. Here’s a portion of what BP’s Hudson Belinsky offered on Snider:

[quote_box author=”Hudson Belinsky” profession=”Writer, Baseball Prospectus”]”…Snider could have a very strong year ahead of him in 2013. The physical ability is there, and if he finds a way to make things work, he could break out this season.”[/quote_box]

Despite hitting just one home run in 50 games with the Pirates, he has power potential and other offensive upside. But what about his defense?

We scanned the Internet to read up on his defensive abilities; here are a couple snippets of what we found…

– Jays’ blogger Tom Dakers of Bluebird Banter after Snider was dealt to the Bucs: “He’s also turned himself into a really good defensive outfielder. When he first came up the feeling was that he’d end up a full time DH, but he gets good reads on balls hit to the outfield and has good speed, with a decent arm. He played some center field for us and didn’t look out of place.”

– David Heck of CBS Local Sports on Snider last March: “Combine that offense with above-average defense in a corner outfield spot … and Snider could be an important cog for a Toronto team that is gaining momentum as a playoff contender in the American League.”

Furthermore, there are plenty of sabermetrics in the baseball world to value a player’s defense. The ones we’ll use for Travis Snider are Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), Revised Zone Rating (RZR), and Defensive Runs Saved (DRS).

Here’s some info on each metric via FanGraphs, and how Snider stacks up…


Basics:  “…one of the most widely used, publicly available defensive statistics… UZR puts a run value to defense, attempting to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up through their fielding prowess (or lack thereof).”


Defensive Ability UZR
Gold Glove Caliber +15
Great +10
Above Average +5
Average 0
Below Average -5
Poor -10
Awful -15

Snider’s Career UZR: 3.1
Ability: Average – Above Average


Basics:  “…measures ‘the proportion of balls hit into a fielder’s zone that he successfully converted into an out’ (Hardball Times).”


Rating RZR
Excellent 0.940
Great 0.900
Above Average 0.860
Average 0.835
Below Average 0.800
Poor 0.750
Awful 0.700

Snider’s Career RZR: .897
Rating: Great


Basics:  “…rates individual players as above or below average on defense… captures a player’s total defensive value.”


Defensive Ability DRS
Gold Glove Caliber +15
Great +10
Above Average +5
Average 0
Below Average -5
Poor -10
Awful -15

Snider’s DRS with Pirates: 3
Ability: Average – Above Average

In his short time with Pittsburgh, Snider passed the eye test by making some tremendous catches and covering lots of ground. The remarkable catch he made at Citi Field in September was unforgettable:

He had a number of other solid plays as well. Here’s a tough running grab he made on Scott Rolen:

Robbing Ryan Braun of extra bases:

A diving grab to retire Alfonso Soriano:

Covering a ton of ground on a gap shot hit by Norichika Aoki:

A slick sliding snag on Jean Segura:

As long as Snider can make the routine plays and stay consistent with some of his defensive metrics, he could definitely provide an impact with his defense. Starling Marte was regarded as a tremendous fielder with a cannon for an arm when he moved through the minor league system, and Andrew McCutchen has the wheels to cover plenty of ground. Snider will be a key third piece in solidifying a legitimate outfield. He won’t be spectacular out there, but has enough potential to succeed.

At age 25, there is still time for Snider to develop. An every day right fielder with power and above average defense can easily exceed the value of a reliever; the Travis Snider for Brad Lincoln trade could be a favorable one for the Pirates.

Photo: Tom Sullivan/Creative Commons
Stats courtesy

Top Ten Most Memorable Pirates Moments of 2012

Although the Bucs ultimately collapsed to their 20th consecutive losing season in 2012, there were certainly plenty of memorable moments throughout the 162-game slate. As the calendar year comes to a close, it’s time to look back on the past season; here are our top ten most memorable Pirates moments of 2012.

10. Pedro Alvarez Game-Tying Home Run After Rain Delay vs. Colorado

Down by three in a game at Coors Field, Pedro Alvarez came up as the tying run.  The rain had been coming down hard for the past inning or so, and the game was finally delayed when Pedro came up.  After a 52 minute rain delay, El Toro stroked the first pitch he saw (from a lefty) to left field for a game-tying home run.  Absolutely unreal moment for the few that stayed up to see it.  The Pirates went on to lose the game, but it was still a great moment nonetheless.

9. Brad Lincoln vs. Jim Thome Staredown

The Bucs were up by a score of 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh in Philadelphia.  Jim Thome, one of the nicest major leaguers and a guaranteed hall-of-famer, was up with two men on.  Brad Lincoln blew an 0-2 fastball right by Thome, and the two stared each other down as they walked off the field.  There was something about the whole situation that made it just perfect; the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia rivalry, a guy with 600 home runs against a young reliever for the Pirates… everything just seemed to fit.  Awesome moment.

8. A.J. Burnett One-Hitter vs. Chicago

A.J. Burnett’s first year in Pittsburgh was a great one, and his best start came on August 1st at Wrigley Field.  He held the Cubs hitless through 7.2 innings, and ended up throwing a one-hitter.  He and Neil Walker, who drove in all five runs (including a grand slam,) single-handedly defeated the Cubs to rack up another win.

7. Andrew McCutchen Walk-Off Hit vs. Philadelphia

The 2012 opening series against the Phillies was a good one.  Philly took Opening Day by a score of 1-0, the Bucs won the second game on a walk-off infield single, and it looked like Philly would win the rubber match.  Down 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Pirates scored two to get within a run.  The stadium was split pretty equally between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia fans, so the Phillies fans were very vocal when they had the lead.  Matt Hague tied the game in the eighth with his first career knock, setting up a dramatic ninth.  With two outs and a runner on third, Cutch hammered a ball to center field.  It didn’t get out, but it was far enough over the head of Shane Victorino to win the game and the series.  Just the first of many great moments of Cutch’s season.

6. Back-to-Back Doubles Beat Chapman

Up until Michael McKenry got to him on June 7th, Aroldis Chapman hadn’t given up an earned run all season.  If you look at the roster from 2012, Clint Barmes and The Fort were two of the least likely to double off of Chapman, but they both did it in succession to give the Bucs the lead in extra innings.  The win got the Pirates within two games of the Reds and gave fans some bragging rights over those annoying Reds fans.

5. Pedro Alvarez Go-Ahead Home Run in 19th vs. St. Louis

The Pirates are very familiar with 19 inning games, and it was nice to be on the winning end of one in 2012.  On August 19th, the team was still very much in the playoff hunt and any game against the Cardinals was important.  It looked like the Bucs were going to finally end the game in the 17th, but St. Louis scored in the bottom half to keep it going.  Finally in the 19th, Pedro absolutely destroyed a ball that put the Pirates back on top.  It took more than six hours, but Pedro’s game-winner was definitely worth the wait.

4. Rod Barajas Walk-Off Home Run vs. Washington

Rod Barajas was really struggling through the first month of the season and the fans were letting him know how they felt.  In a game against the Nationals, Rod was boo’d every time he came to the plate, but his walk-off home run made the crowd go nuts.  It was a great win for the Bucs – beating the best team in the NL – and also became the unofficial birth of “Zoltan.”

3. Starling Marte Home Run on First Pitch in MLB vs. Houston

In the middle of a pennant race in late July, the Bucs finally called up Starling Marte to add some pop into the lineup.  Marte didn’t take long at all to show what he could do.  He led off his first game in Houston and crushed the first pitch he saw – a fastball at the letters – deep off the train tracks at Minute Maid Park.  No matter how Marte’s career with the Pirates turns out, his first home run will certainly be something that fans remember for a while.

2. Travis Snider Robs Mike Baxter of a Home Run

By late September when the Pirates travelled to Queens, it was pretty clear that they weren’t going to make the postseason and even the chances of reaching .500 looked bad.  Most of baseball had forgotten about them as they cooled off into September, but an amazing catch by Travis Snider brought some attention back to the team.  On a ball that looked like a no-doubt home run, Snider climbed the wall, hung there for a second, and made the catch to rob Baxter.  If this wasn’t the catch of the year, it was definitely one of the top three.

1. Drew Sutton Walk-Off Home Run vs. Houston

Considering the context, this has to be the top moment of the year.  A.J Burnett had a chance to win his ninth straight game, but he got hit hard by the Astros.  The Bucs battled back and took a one-run lead into the ninth, but Joel Hanrahan blew the save.  Drew Sutton was the right fielder in the game and although he wasn’t charged with any errors, he misplayed a few balls hit into the corner that cost Burnett a few runs.  He came up in the bottom of the ninth with a chance to redeem himself, and drove a walk-off home run deep to center field as the Bucs moved to eight games over the .500 mark.  Pretty unreal moment for a guy who had bounced between teams his whole career and had a few special weeks with the Pirates.

Even though they fell short of .500 once again, 2012 was another great year of Bucco baseball. Obviously, these ten moments are interchangeable and the order varies depending on the person. These were our top ten moments; feel free to let us know your most memorable Pirates moments of 2012, either in the comments section or on Twitter.

Go Bucs in 2013

Season in Pictures: September 2012

September 7th, 2012
Josh Harrison commits one of the Pirates’ seven errors, as the Cubs cruised to a 12-2 victory.

September 10th, 2012
Brandon Phillips is plunked by Jared Hughes; nonsense ensued, as Phillips thought Hughes made a racist comment towards him. The Bucs were swept by the Redlegs.

September 27th, 2012
Travis Snider scales the outfield wall to make a ridiculous catch at Citi Field. However, the Pirates lost, 6-5, as R.A. Dickey won his 20th game.

September 28th, 2012
Homer Bailey celebrates after no-hitting the Pirates at PNC Park.

September 29th, 2012
Andrew McCutchen is greeted by his teammates at home plate after knocking a walk-off home run against the Reds.

October 3rd, 2012
Andrew McCutchen leaves the field for the final time in 2012 to a standing ovation in front of 20,000+ at PNC Park.

*Hopefully* the last loss of 2012

The Pirates have now pushed their luck to the limit.  They lost to the Mets 6-5 for their 80th loss of the season.

Rod Barajas and Jordy Mercer got the Bucs an early lead against R.A. Dickey with RBIs a piece.  Ike Davis got one run right back against Kevin Correia, but Barajas neutralized it with a solo shot in the fourth.

To beat a pitcher like Dickey, you have to get a few runs early and hope your starter can keep the lead.  The Pirates just couldn’t follow through on the latter.  The score was 3-2 heading to the fifth thanks to an absolutely unreal catch by Travis Snider.  He scaled the RF wall to rob Mike Baxter of a home run and preserve the lead for the time being.  Definitely one of the best catches ever by a Pirate.  But despite help from his defense, Correia couldn’t hold off the Mets.  A single tied it up and David Wright mashed a three-run bomb that gave the Metropolitans the 6-3 lead.

That would be all Dickey, who locked in and made the Bucs look foolish at the plate, would need.  He struck out 13 batters in 7.2 innings on his way to his 20th win of the season.  Alex Presley got the Pirates within a run in the ninth with a two-run shot, but Bobby Parnell came in to get the last two outs and hold off the Buccos.  Congrats to R.A. on his milestone-win.  He’s definitely been one of the best stories in 2012 and is a likable guy.

That’s it.  Gotta win out to get that winning season.

Pirates (76-80) – Mets (72-84)

Win: Dickey (20-6)
Loss: Correia (11-11)
Save: Parnell (5)


Go Bucs