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PIO notes: Snyder showing big potential07/26/2012 10:34 AM ET
By Greg Rachac / Special to MLB.com
Michael Snyder doesn't consider himself a Most Valuable Player candidate. The Orem slugger has bigger things to worry about as a first-year pro.
"To be honest, I'm just trying to come out and help us win," Snyder said. "When you come out here every day and you get the chance to help the team win and you do it, it's exciting. And you don't ever want to get too high or too down. You want to stay humble and work every day.
"It'd be pretty cool to be an MVP, but I just want to help the team win. I want to stick to my approach. That definitely helps you succeed."
The Pioneer League doesn't hand out mid-season awards. If it did, Snyder would be a leading candidate as the Rookie circuit's top player through the first six weeks of the 2012 campaign.
The first half of the season officially ends July 28, and Snyder, a 23rd-round Draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels in June, has dominated Pioneer League pitching to the tune of a .357 average (45-for-126) with seven home runs and league-best 32 RBIs. Earlier in the year, Snyder put together an 18-game hitting streak and had hit safely in 25 out of 31 games.
His performance helped Orem go 16-10 down the stretch, putting the Owlz in position to contend for the South Division's first-half title.
"Coming into professional baseball, it's kind of a little weight on your back," said Snyder, who was drafted out of Florida Southern College, a Division II school in the Sunshine State Conference.
"It's a little intimidating at first," he said. "You've been in college for four years and worked to be one of the best players on your team, but when you get here, everybody's the best."
Snyder has a strong baseball bloodline, which has helped pave his way. His brother, Brandon, currently plays in the Majors with the Texas Rangers and his dad, Brian, spent several years pitching in the Minors while appearing in 17 Major League games. Michael's twin brother, Matthew, meanwhile, is currently in the Yankees Minor League system.
Snyder readily admits he has -- at the very least -- met his self-imposed expectations in 2012. And his league-best hitting streak, which lasted from June 22 to July 12, speaks for itself.
"I just did the little things right," Snyder said. "When you have a hitting streak like that, it's fun. You go up there with a positive mind-set every at-bat. For me, during those 18 games, I was seeing the ball well. I felt great at the plate. Pitchers would give me a pitch to hit and I would execute. I did it for 18 days in a row. Hopefully I'll be able to do that again."
Primarily a third baseman in college, Snyder is being converted into a first basemen by the Angels. Snyder, though, has been Orem's designated hitter through most of the first half of this season, which he says has been an adjustment on a number of levels.
It's a scenario that calls to mind an age-old question: Should a guy who plays primarily as a DH be eligible to win an MVP award? No matter how it turns out for Snyder, he'll follow the same blueprint he used to get to this point in the first place.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," he said. "I'm going to continue to come to the ballpark every day, happy and ready to have fun. You've got to remember that this is a game. And the best thing about baseball is that there's always a next day."
Sizzling Seth: Billings third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean is challenging Snyder's season-best hitting streak. Mejias-Brean, a University of Arizona product, singled in the first inning against Grand Junction on July 25 and has hit safely in 12 straight games. Billings has an off-day before opening a five-game homestand July 27.
First-half champs: With a 7-2 victory over Idaho Falls on July 24, Great Falls clinched the North Division's first-half title and a berth in the postseason. In the process, Great Falls earned the chance to defend its league championship. The South division race was still up for grabs entering July 25.
Rehabbing Rockie: Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton made a two-game rehab stint in Grand Junction last week. The five-time Major League All-Star and 2000 National League batting champion went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. It was the second time Helton rehabbed in the Pioneer League -- in 2010, he went 5-for-10 with five RBIs in a three-game stint with Casper.