The mrkupe Prospect Smackdown: Chris Marrero vs. Travis Snider
Background and Intangibles:
Marrero: Chris Marrero was drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft, 15th overall, out of Monsignor Pace High School in Opa Locka, Florida. As an amateur he attracted widespread attention from scouts, and was regarded as perhaps the top prep prospect in the 2006 draft class entering his senior season. He struggled at times during his final year, however, with some scouts expressing concern over his ability to make consistent contact and an apparent weakness to breaking pitches. He may have been something of a victim of over-scouting, as he has had few struggles in his first season and a half of professional baseball. Marrero's makeup is considered a plus, and he shows a great work ethic in improving in all facets of the game.
Snider: Travis Snider was drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft, 14th overall, out of Jackson High School in Everett, Washington. A two-sport star early in his amateur career, a football injury led him to focus exclusively on baseball for his final two seasons. Scouts adored his bat but concerns about his conditioning and his defense prevented him from being considered a clearly elite draft prospect. As a pro Snider has been everything expected of him, quickly establishing himself as one of the premier hitting prospects in the minor leagues. Snider's makeup is considered to be outstanding; he embraced a leadership role in prep sports, and he shows a tremendous dedication to becoming a better player.
Advantage: Marrero had a slightly higher profile than Snider as an amateur, although this may have ultimately worked to his detriment rather than his advantage. The fact that Marrero has been able to push through the heavy scrutiny so quickly and perform as a pro speaks extremely well of his makeup. Snider hasn't quite faced such trials, but he's shown in his own way that he has the mental aptitude and toughness needed to succeed. I'd call this one even.
Physicality, Health, and Tools:
Marrero: Marrero was born July 2, 1988. Listed at 6-3 and 210 pounds, he is a righthanded batter and thrower. Marrero is a very good athlete with a well-balanced set of tools, all of which grade out as at least average. He has a fluid swing with good bat speed and loft, giving him above-average power which should develop into a true plus as he matures physically. Marrero has showed better plate awareness and strike zone judgment this year than in the past, but he is still a pull-happy hitter who will likely need to make considerable adjustments in order to succeed at higher levels. A third baseman in high school, opinions on his defensive ability there varied widely, and the Nationals chose to simplify the matter by immediately moving him to left field following the draft. His athleticism and strong arm should allow him to stay there, but if necessary he would make a fine defender at first base. Marrero has a clean bill of health; he has no injury history to speak of, and he profiles as a player who should do a solid job of avoiding nagging injuries.
Snider: Snider was born February 2, 1988. Listed at 5-11 and 230 pounds, he is a lefthanded batter and thrower. Snider carries a lot of bulk on his frame, although he is a good athlete for his size with plenty of muscle. He is a very advanced hitter for his age, showing the ability to make consistent and quality contact with plus power potential to all fields. His strike zone judgment is slightly above average at present, and given his aptitude for making adjustments and his intimidating presence at the plate this will likely improve with experience. Whether he matures into a high average hitter with above-average home run power or a true power slugger may simply be a matter of his own preferences, as he appears to have the raw ability to do whatever he wants at the plate. A corner outfielder by trade, Snider compensates for his below-average speed with decent route-running and a very good arm. He has had issues in the past with controlling his weight, and an eventual move to first base or perhaps designated hitter remains a distinct possibility. Snider broke his ankle as a high school sophomore but has otherwise remained largely injury-free, with a minor wrist injury last year being the only other blemish on the record. He does not profile as a particularly good candidate to avoid the trainer's room, but so far he's done an acceptable job of staying healthy. I do not think it will be a major issue in the short-term but it is something to keep in mind as he ages.
Advantage: From the traditional scouting perspective, Marrero enjoys an advantage over Snider, as his overall toolset is better-rounded. On the other hand, Snider's hit tool is clearly superior to what Marrero offers, which is an important factor when discussing two players who will play low-skill positions. Marrero has shown slightly more durability than Snider, an advantage that will probably become increasingly well-defined as time passes. The edge here goes to Marrero.
Performance and Polish:
Marrero: Marrero has hit .296/.355/.500 over his first season and a half of professional baseball. He spent the first part of the 2007 season playing in the Low A South Atlantic League, where he hit .293/.337/.545, and is now playing in the High A Carolina League, hitting .293/.371/.478. He has a career 42/98 BB/K ratio over 460 ABs. Marrero has done a respectable job of disproving scouts who questioned his ability to make consistent contact this year, and his combination of average, power, and relatively low strikeout total show that he is more advanced at the plate than originally thought. He remains vulnerable to pitches on the outside half of the plate, but his improved plate awareness should give him the ability to overcome this in time. He still likely projects as only average or perhaps slightly above average as a contact hitter, but he is a much safer bet to reach this projection than he was a year ago. There are no complaints about Marrero defensively thus far, and he should be a respectable corner outfielder.
Snider: Snider has hit .310/.386/.514 over his first season and a half of professional baseball, including a .302/.370/.483 line this year in the Low A Midwest League. He has a career 68/133 BB/K ratio in 568 ABs. He is already very polished at the plate, with an advanced approach against left-handed pitchers and impressive skill in hitting the ball to the opposite field. He is already adept at quickly making adjustments against pitchers, and he is a good candidate to be promoted aggressively through the minors. His defensive development is proceeding adequately, and I believe he'll be able to stick in a corner outfield spot as long as he watches himself carefully.
Advantage: Marrero has made some impressive strides since his amateur days, and he has played well at a slightly higher level of competition than Snider. Still, Snider is also performing very well, and it would be hard to penalize a 19 year old player for the Blue Jays' caution and the Nationals' aggressiveness. I think he'd be playing just fine in High A right now were the Blue Jays to go that route. Most important here, in my opinion, is that Snider is significantly more advanced than Marrero in developing the skills that will allow him to succeed against advanced levels of competition. They're very similar in performance to date but Snider has the polish to be a superior performer in the future, so I'm going to give the edge to him.
Marrero: Marrero already has a solid build, but he does have some projection left in him and he stands to fill out a bit more in time. He projects as a .260-.280 hitter at the major league level, with the potential to hit 30-35 home runs on an annual basis. Pat Burrell is a name that seems to be invoked often when it comes to finding a major league comparable for Marrero, and it seems like a solid fit to me. I'm not sure he'll be a perennial All Star type of player, but I think he stands a decent chance of making at least a couple of apperances.
Snider: Snider already has plenty of bulk on his frame, too much for some observers. He doesn't offer much in the way of projection, but then again he doesn't need to as he's already quite mature physically. He projects as a .290-.310 hitter at the major league level, with the potential to hit 30-35 home runs on an annual basis. A larger, slower version of Brian Giles in his prime seems like a reasonable comparison to me . . .remember that Giles was one of the better (if underappreciated) hitters in the game in his best years, and that Snider could play at that level of statistical performance much earlier in his career.
Advantage: On the surface it would appear that Snider comes out clearly ahead here, but keep in mind that Marrero will likely have more defensive value. If Snider ultimately ends up at first base or a designated hitter, the nature of this comparison would be significantly altered. Also remember that these projections rely on the player in question being healthy, and there are significantly more questions with Snider concerning that matter than there are with Marrero. I think that Snider comes out ahead nonetheless, but the margin between the two players here is not as much as one might originally assume.
Summary: Marrero and Snider are even in terms of makeup. Marrero enjoys an advantage over Snider in the tools/physicality department, but Snider holds an edge in both overall polish and major league projection. I think you have to call this one in favor of Snider, and this is reflected in my own personal assessment. I currently have Snider graded out as a top 20 prospect, with Marrero being in the top 40. Of course, the difference of 20 spots on such a list tends to be exaggerated, and this placement certainly does not speak poorly of Marrero. If he can continue to make improvements at the plate, then this comparison might end up virtually dead even by this time next season.
Who would you take?
Chris Marrero (49 votes)
Travis Snider (51 votes)
100 total votes