Snyder relishing return to big leagues

Snyder relishing return to big leagues

SAN DIEGO -- Having been selected by the Orioles with the 13th overall selection of the 2005 MLB Draft, Brandon Snyder knows the excitement many of baseball's top amateur players are feeling this week.

But the nomadic journey he has endured while spending most of the past 11 years at the Minor League level has also taught him a first-round selection comes with no guarantees for success.

Snyder made his way back to Major League level last week, when the Braves promoted him from Triple-A Gwinnett to provide some versatility to their bench. The 29-year-old utilityman enhanced the thrill when he homered during the ninth inning of Sunday's loss to the Dodgers.

"I still can't believe it," Snyder said. "I don't know if my feet hit the ground going around the bases. It's been a tough couple years and that was just the culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of blessings."

Since being taken immediately behind Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce in the 2005 Draft, Snyder has played for four different organizations and totaled 87 games at the big league level. He batted .277 with three home runs while collecting a career-high 69 plate appearances for the Rangers in 2012.

But after hitting .180 with two home runs (including one off David Price) for the Red Sox in 2013, he did not play another Major League again until last week.

Snyder actually played five games for an independent league team last year before the Orioles signed him to a Minor League deal and let him spend the remainder of the season at the Double-A level.

"There were a lot of things I needed to figure out with myself as a player," Snyder said. "I think a lot of times I took some stuff for granted and I didn't enjoy it as much as I maybe should have and treated it more like a job. Now, I just thank God that I get to come in every day and put on this uniform."

Snyder caught the attention of the Braves' coaching staff when he was occasionally brought over from Minor League camp to serve as an extra roster member during Spring Training. He earned his latest call to the Majors after hitting .325 with a .775 OPS over 125 plate appearances with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Along with having the capability of playing both corner positions in the infield and outfield, Snyder has been recently catching bullpen sessions. He was drafted as a catcher, but his days at the position essentially ended in 2006.

Snyder might never again serve as a catcher. But his journey has taught him it is best to simply do whatever necessary to enhance his capabilities at the big league level.

"I just feel God works in mysterious ways and the way the year has been, it has just been fantastic," Snyder said. "I'm here and anything I can do to show my versatility and help in any way is the mindset right now."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.