Big what’s up to my man Snelling

DMZ · July 3, 2005 at 7:12 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?”
— Yoda

I didn’t find out they called up Snelling until after today’s game, and I’m almost glad, because it means I didn’t sit there all game hoping to see him only to be disappointed. Now I have something to watch for every game.

I broke my Snelling jersey out of the closet, where it’s been patiently waiting for the last couple of years, coming out only for USSM gatherings. He’s taken #32, same as last time, which makes me happy, because I don’t have to order a second one.

I don’t know what happens now — if Doyle’s going to get the Choo treatment, or if Winn’s about to be moved to make room for him to get regular playing time. I certainly hope he’s not just a replacement Dobbs-style bat, because he needs to get his playing time more than anyone else in the system.

But this is a big step.

In this year’s BP, I wrote

First, let me note that I’m a huge fan of Snelling, and there is nothing I want more in baseball than for him to become durable, healthy, and enjoy a brilliant career.

Snelling is like Nick Johnson if Nick Johnson was raised in Australia, lithe, shorter, with a little less power and walks.

And yet… my appreciation for Snelling has deepened. Because he’s friendly, funny, has an accent, and was into Yoda, his reputation was fluffy and light-weight, more a novelty story than an interesting and potentially good player. With continued health problems his story’s been dismissed, but Snelling’s still out there, fighting his way through rehab, avoiding sharp objects, with no one writing about him.

There’s no way to say whether Snelling’s ever going to be healthy enough to progress, or if the lost development time’s too great a deficit to overcome. But I want to see what happens next nearly as much as Snelling does. As you read this, he’s in rehab or… wait… no, he’s hurt himself again. Dammit.

That last part was weirdly prescient, as he went on the DL when the book came out (part of why I went into Doyle-mode).

Even that write-up, though, doesn’t cover it. Some prospects never become what they might because they’re lazy, or they don’t have the patience or pain endurance to come back from injuries. Snelling, this funny, cool, laid-back seeming guy, has been unstoppable. Fate keeps knocking him down and he gets up and returns to working towards getting back into the game.

As Mariner fans, we’re a little spoiled from having seen the almost effortless ascent of stars like Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, guys with immense natural talent who were blessed with good health early in their careers. And as much as I enjoyed watching them, I admire Snelling more for his perseverence and his humility and self-confidence in the face of so many serious setbacks.

I don’t know what happens next, if Winn or Ibanez gets moved to open up some LF/DH playing time, or what the team has in mind. But if you’re a hard-core Mariner fan, someone who’s followed the ups and downs of the franchise and its players and take joy in the victories and triumphs of the good guys, this is a fine day.

Go get ’em, Chris.

And folks, if you want to spot me at a Mariners game, I’m one of two people at the park wearing a huge grin and a jersey with “Snelling” on the back.


42 Responses to “Big what’s up to my man Snelling”

  1. Alex on July 3rd, 2005 7:37 pm

    Gasp! You referred to him as his real name and not Doyle… hope we don’t jinx him…

  2. AK1984 on July 3rd, 2005 7:43 pm

    You know, with his callup — and Dave Meyers exile to Everett — we probably ought to go back to calling him by his real last name . . . while calling him by his middle name instead of his first.

    Oh yeah, and by the way, with his having been recalled to Seattle, someone should inform Willie Bloomquist that they’re in search of a fourth outfielder in Tacoma . . . he should immediately go and purchase a bus ticket.

  3. Alex on July 3rd, 2005 7:44 pm

    #2 – If Willie B really wanted to go to Tacoma, I’d buy him a bus ticket myself. Hell, I’d pick him up and personally drive him down there if I had to.

  4. Perthro on July 3rd, 2005 7:49 pm

    My sentiment exactly, Derek. And that’s a beautiful post.

  5. David J Corcoran on July 3rd, 2005 7:54 pm

    Amen. The most exciting and overlooked aspect of today’s moves was the Snelling promotion.

    My only question… was Hansen really injured…. or was it just an excuse to get around the 10 day rule…

  6. Mr. Egaas on July 3rd, 2005 8:00 pm

    He’ll be forever Doyle in my book.

    I can only hope he gets off to a Morse-like start and there’s no looking back. Everyday left fielder for years to come.

    Time for Doyle to rock you like a hurricane.

  7. Digger on July 3rd, 2005 8:13 pm

    I vote that we keep calling him Doyle. It seems to be working.

    Doyle brings enough to the table to be an adequate replacement for Winn, and Winn is good enough to actually be worth a significant return in a trade. Ibanez, though? The M’s single biggest problem right now is lack of power, and losing Raul would make that even worse in that regard. I assume that Doyle can generate an ISO > .100 which makes bringing him in to replace Winn palatable, even though I am a big Randy Winn fan. But I would object to giving him away like Bavasi did with Guillen.

    If that move comes to pass, next year has all left handed outfielders and all right handed infielders. Which is wierd, but is it bad?

  8. eponymous coward on July 3rd, 2005 8:39 pm

    And as much as I enjoyed watching them, I admire Snelling more for his perseverence and his humility and self-confidence in the face of so many serious setbacks.

    Kind of like Edgar: “Hey, nice PCL batting title. Let’s see you do that again.”
    “OK, you did it again. We like this Coles kid better, though. Sit on the bench for a while.”

  9. Jim Osmer on July 3rd, 2005 8:41 pm

    I think you have to hang on to Ibanez. He has the best OPS on the team and is your only left handed power until Clement shows up.

    They really got to play Doyle from the start. I think he can provide a huge spark for this team. Not sure what kind of power to really expect from him. Most of his HRs this year were in Albuquerque and Colorado Springs. His normal altitude homers are rare.

    His nickname in our household since we first saw him play in 2002 is “the Mongrel” due to his unkempt appearance.

  10. Rusty on July 3rd, 2005 8:55 pm

    Derek, thanks for the post. It really speaks to my own thoughts about Snelling through the years. I don’t have his jersey like you (I don’t own any baseball jerseys) but I can imagine buying one with his name and number very soon.

  11. Jonathan on July 3rd, 2005 9:04 pm

    Totally psyched to see Doyle get the call-up, but concerned about the amount of playing time he’ll get. Grover seems to be playing true to his scouting report of getting a lineup he likes and playing it to death. Yes, we could trade Winn (Ibanez would not be smart, we needs the pop), but I’m also a Randy Winn booster. He doesn’t get the love, and that’s sad. If we did trade Winn, what would we realistically be hoping to get?

  12. Jim Osmer on July 3rd, 2005 9:31 pm

    Unfortunately KC starts a lefty tomorrow which may keep Reed and Doyle out of the lineup. I hate the whole righty/lefty obsession.

  13. Chuck on July 3rd, 2005 10:01 pm

    I’m sorry but Doyle/Ichiro/Reed/Winn is just plain redundant. One of them has to go, most likely Winn. Fact is, we have a team ranked near the bottom in home runs and with us waiting at catcher for Clement, long term deals with Beltre and Sexson at the corners, Lopez still developing power at second, and an unkown at this point at short, where are we going to get the extra power we need? Any top free agent outfielders this winter?

  14. JasonAChurchill on July 3rd, 2005 10:19 pm

    Funny that Snelling lost his accent, though. No accent whatsoever anymore.

    The dude rocks, however.

    Very unique player that takes hitting as serious as the Gwynn’s and Boggs’ of the world did back in the 80s and early 90s.

    Boone is gone, but Winn is next.

  15. Mr. Egaas on July 3rd, 2005 10:39 pm

    I’d like to hope, and hope that I’m not reaching here as well, that Snelling could be good for 15-20 HRs a year. I was hoping that Reed could be good for 15-20 HRs a year too, but I’m starting to think the most that he will hit in a year is maybe 10…

    Winn’s career high is 14. Definitely not a power threat, and his career marks are .283/.344/.407. I would like to think that Snelling can do that, or possibly surpass that as well.

    Dump Winn, hit Reed in the 2 hole, and Snelling 6 or 7. We need to keep Ibanez (Don’t we have him locked up for next year as well?) for his 20-25 HR potential.

    We definitely need to get more power into the line-up.

  16. Rank on July 3rd, 2005 10:53 pm

    [deleted, see comment guildelines]

  17. AK1984 on July 3rd, 2005 10:54 pm

    Re. #11:

    The M’s would probably get a mid-tier prospect, and be happy to save about $2 million . . . which would go into the pockets of Nintendo®.

  18. Jim Thomsen on July 3rd, 2005 11:42 pm

    “Forever My Doyle” … wasn’t that a Paula Abdul song?

  19. Typical Idiot Fan on July 4th, 2005 12:08 am

    “I met him in the heat in the Outback lands,”
    “Where it pays to pack some extra sun cream.”
    “C-R-E-A-M, Sun Cream.”

    “I saw a little runt swinging a bat like a log,”
    “I asked him his name and in an Aussie voice, he said ‘Doyle’,”
    “D-O-Y-L-E… Doyle… do-do-do-do Doyle…”

    “Well, I’ve been around but I aint never seen,”
    “A guy who carries around a muppet that’s wrinkled and green,”
    “Oh my Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”

    “Well, I’m not dumb, but I can’t understand,”
    “How he puts balls in the gaps just by flicking his hands,”
    “Oh my Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”

    “Well, I’ve watched ball on the tube before,”
    “And I’ve seen stars come from Seattle before,”
    “But the FO they set the proper course,”
    “They said ‘call up Doyle and he’ll show you his Force’,”

    “Well, I’m not the kind who would keep a kid down,”
    “So it looks like the rookie’s a comin’ ta town,”
    “Oh my Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”

    “Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”

    “He stepped to the plate,”
    “Swung that bat around,”
    “‘Ker-rack!’ went the sound,”
    “My jaw fell to my knees,”
    “He did something that I just can’t believe!”

    “And that’s the way that I want it to be,”
    “For him to bat in position 3,”
    “Oh my Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”

    “Balls will be strikes and strikes will be balls,”
    “It’s a mixed up, jumbled up, shook up game,”
    “Except for Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.

    “Well, I heard the M’s really got in a mess!”
    “So they’re gonna call upon Doyle again!”
    “But I know that things are gonna be okay,”
    “This kid can bring it every-day.”

    “Now if only they could find a spot to put him in,”
    “Then we could look forward to a Mariner’s win,”
    “Oh my Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”

    “Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”
    “Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”

    “Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”
    “Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”

    “Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”
    “Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle. Do-do-do-do Doyle.”

    /holds up lighter, sways.

  20. Shoeless Jose on July 4th, 2005 12:24 am

    I hope Doyle keeps the hair. With the M’s “rivals” each sporting a shaggy-headed one-man highlight reel in the form of Byrnes and Greene (let’s not even mention Damon), the M’s need to keep up. Though I’m going to be terrified every time he gets near a wall or lays out for a catch…

  21. wabbles on July 4th, 2005 1:36 am

    If we cut Spiezio like we did Boone, then Bloomquist can move to the infield, where he more or less belongs (other than Tacoma I mean). Then Doyle can become our fourth outfielder. Yeah, he needs playing time. So we put him at DH to keep him healthy and alternate Winn and Ibanez in left field. It gives us a stronger bench and a stronger outfield. Do Doyle!

  22. wabbles on July 4th, 2005 1:46 am

    Er, GO Doyle!

  23. Josh on July 4th, 2005 3:43 am

    So you are the other guy with a Snelling jersey! I’m such a dork, the only Jerseys I have are Mariners Rickey Henderson, and a Mariners Snelling Jersey.

    All my baseball fan friends make fun of me for the Henderson jersey.

  24. ray on July 4th, 2005 5:27 am

    Doyle may have yet to develop his power. He is still young. I think it would be nice if Doyle could in time get about 15-20 and same with Reed. And hopefully Lopez would have 20-25. I know it’s not much but if Doyle and Reed could be high average guys and Lopez and above avg. 2B then it’ll be enough for Safeco — I think.

  25. Tim on July 4th, 2005 5:36 am

    Free agents after this season:

    As far as outfielders go, the big names are:
    Hideki Matsui
    Johnny Damon
    Sammy Sosa
    Brian Giles
    Milton Bradley

  26. Rusty on July 4th, 2005 9:38 am

    With JD Drew having broken his wrist, I’d say a call to DePo to see if he has use for Randy Winn is in order.

  27. eponymous coward on July 4th, 2005 9:55 am

    The FA market for OF’s is a big yawn. Giles is looking like he’s on the wrong side of 30, Sosa is REALLY looking like it, Bradley’s a basket case, Damon’s redundant on this team like Winn is, and Matsui is likely going to have George bring a wheelbarrow or two of cash.

    With that in mind, I’d think we’d have to look at trades, our kids, or hoping we can improves elsewhere to bump our power…

    And yeah, bringing Doyle up to languish on the bench and PH and play every other week? Why?

  28. JPWood on July 4th, 2005 10:33 am

    Question: Does George Lucas contribute to Doyle’s favorite charity out of deference to Yoda’s living, breathing Earth-bound incarnation?

  29. The Ancient Mariner on July 4th, 2005 10:39 am

    I first saw Doyle play at Everett, and I was immediately blown away; I haven’t been surprised at all by his injuries–he played CF like Pete Reiser, with reckless abandon–but I haven’t been surprised by his unrelenting determination to overcome them, either. He seemed to have all the virtues of Pete Rose in the field, without the vices (on or off the field). He was also a smarter player at 17, both in CF and at the plate, than a lot of major-leaguers I’ve seen, and he hit the ball hard. I’ve been pulling hard for him ever since, and for all the setbacks he’s had, I still think he can have a great career; he just needs a little luck, and to be a little more careful with himself. As for power, I still think he’ll add at least 25-hr power, given playing time and health.

  30. Jim Osmer on July 4th, 2005 11:13 am

    I remember him tearing up spring training and Lou wanted him as the opening day leftfielder at 19.
    I remember meeting him in San Antonio two years ago and being stunned at how much shorter than 5’10” he really is.
    The Dodgers could use Randy Winn. Bavasi please do this quickly.

  31. Evan on July 4th, 2005 12:27 pm

    A lot of teams could use Randy Winn. This shouldn’t be hard.

  32. David J Corcoran on July 4th, 2005 1:43 pm

    Is Brad Wilkerson Doyle’s upside?

  33. adam on July 4th, 2005 1:56 pm

    Well, considering Wilkerson’s career average is .260 and he hit 32 home runs last year….I’m going to say no.

    I’ve always liked the Rusty Greer camparison.

  34. Jim Osmer on July 4th, 2005 2:17 pm

    So if Winn goes, would you use Doyle or Raul at DH? I would think DHing Doyle could protect him from an injury but I think he is still better in the OF than Raul.
    Why do managers pull lefty hitters for lefty starting pitchers (i.e. no Reed against most lefties) but not vice versa? Oddly enough Winn hits lefties as bad as Reed. Ichiro kills lefties but managers still got bring lefties in to face him.

  35. DMZ on July 4th, 2005 2:41 pm

    In that case — I’d play Doyle 2/3rds of the time out there. He’s clearly a much better outfielder than Ibanez is, but Ibanez likes to play out there, so you make him happy while giving Doyle a lot of time in the field and the bulk of the time in the field.

    Doyle’s value as an outfielder who can play his position well is much higher than someone limited to DH. You can always turn up someone who can mash but not play the field.

  36. Evan on July 4th, 2005 2:51 pm

    Bringing in a lefty to face Ichiro has to be about the dumbest thing an opposing manager could do. His reverse platoon split is as big as ever this year; he’s only really slumping against righties.

  37. Tim on July 4th, 2005 3:01 pm

    Giles only has 9 homers, but he’s still hitting .292/.420/.504 at a pitcher’s park.
    The neat thing about him is that he may be undervalued by the market (maybe by the M’s too however).

    Anyone know how he rates in RCAA or something like that?

  38. Evan on July 4th, 2005 4:01 pm

    Brian Giles had 20 RCAA as of Sunday – that’s just outside the top 10 in the NL. He ranks 11th in the NL by VORP (31.9).

  39. msb on July 4th, 2005 4:37 pm

    #14 — JasonAChurchill said: “Funny that Snelling lost his accent, though. No accent whatsoever anymore.”

    pretty common, actually, to take on the accent of the guys you are around all day. If you listen closely, he still has some good Oz vowels– I’m betting that when back home with his bro, he sounds like the Gorokan he is.

  40. Bela Txadux on July 4th, 2005 10:40 pm

    D’Oyle’s m’ main bloke. I’m way happy to see him up. Ancient Mariner in #29 summarized it pretty well for me, but in short the short guy just rakes, and he plays to win every inning, every game. The M(ediocre)s sooooo need a guy like that in the lineup. Ichiro, Reed, Winn, Choo, D’Oyle: somebody’s got to go. Well, _two_ somebodies, but only one right now. To me, Doyle stays, and if he stays he starts. D’Oyle was born in Florida, and lived in the States until he was nine. He only got an accent _after_ he ‘n’ hisuns moved back to Oz. Didn’t really have an accent to lose, so to speak.

    . . . I’ve been waiting for D’Oyle to get some ML PT for four years; I think he’s worth it. —And he’s Doyle forever for me.

  41. DMZ on July 4th, 2005 10:53 pm

    Didn’t really have an accent to lose, so to speak.

    He had a crazy Australian accent when he came to Everett, it’s gone away gradually over time, though I only really noticed it was gone this year in Tacoma, when he was doing interviews with Curto.

  42. Evan on July 5th, 2005 9:38 am

    39 – You hear that all the time with hockey players. There is a distinct hockey accent, and European players speak English with it.

    Wayne Gretzky has a hockey accent. Theoren Fleury had a very strong one.