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Kirby Snead Reliable in First Professional Season

Lefty performed well in his increased workload

Kirby Snead Reliable in First Professional Season

October 30, 2016

Kirby Snead transitioned well into professional baseball in 2016. (GatorCountry.com)

Kirby Snead transitioned well into professional baseball in 2016. (GatorCountry.com)

 

Selecting a pitcher from the University of Florida has become the norm for the Toronto Blue Jays in recent years.

In fact, the organization has selected a Gator in each of the last three drafts, and four of the last six classes overall. Lefty Kirby Snead is the latest addition from the storied collegiate program to join the Blue Jays minor league ranks and he’s making his former program proud.

Being the first of his talented draft class to make it to a full season affiliate, Snead was briefly assigned to the high-A Dunedin Blue Jays, before finishing up his season with the low-A Lansing Lugnuts.

“I had no idea that the organization was going to send me to Dunedin right after the draft, but the organization needed help with pitching there and I got my first professional game in with Dunedin,” stated Snead. “It was a lot of fun and I did well, so it was a good experience all-around.”

Pitching 27 1/3 innings between the two clubs; Snead maintained a respectable 1.32 WHIP and a 3.60 SO/W ratio in his first season of professional baseball. 

His success on the mound comes from pitching to contact. With a fastball that usually sits in the high-80’s/low-90’s range, it’s important for the prospect to use movement to his advantage as much as possible.

“I have a lot of movement on all of my pitches,” explained Snead. “I don’t really throw too hard, so I rely on movement to get ground balls and weak fly balls.”

Snead also uses a slider and a changeup in his repertoire. Believing his changeup is his best pitch, the lefty describes what he likes most about the changeup.

“My changeup is my best pitch and favorite pitch as well,” explained Snead. “I really enjoy throwing the changeup and I throw it whenever I can. Relievers don’t usually get the chance to throw that pitch, but I try to work it in every outing.”

It didn’t take long for Lansing Lugnuts pitching coach Jeff Ware to take notice at Snead’s ability to control the changeup.

“Kirby is a guy that has a lot of confidence in his ability to getting guys out,” stated Ware. “Coming from college he was more of a specialist that just got lefties out, but now he’s also getting righties out as well. He’s using that changeup more that he rarely used in college and he’s been effective with it.”

Using the same approach to pitching has made his transition into professional baseball that much easier for Snead.

“I’m just trying to keep it simple,” said Snead. “My goal is to come in and throw strikes and get outs. Everything works better if you don’t overthink everything, or stress yourself out. I’m just trying to calm myself down every outing and throw strikes.”

The prospect has returned home to Florida this off-season to prepare himself for an increased workload in 2017.

“I’m planning on going back to the University of Florida this off-season to get my arm in shape for my first full professional season,” stated Snead. “I’m going to workout, get my body, and arm in shape for next season.”

Next season will be a real test for Snead as he’ll be going after more hitters than he did in college baseball. But if his first season of professional baseball is any indicator of what’s in store for the young lefty, he’ll do great climbing the ladder.

Toronto Blue Jays fans certainly hope that Kirby Snead can continue to find that success as a member of their organization for years to come.