In part two of our three-part series of the Minick Law Hard Hitting Player Feature, I sat down with Asheville Tourists infielder Taylor Snyder . Taylor answered in depth questions about his time with the Tourists over the past two seasons and touched on other areas of his life.
Taylor, this is your second season with the Asheville Tourists. You have put together a great season so far. What are some areas of your game that you have improved on from year one to here in year two with the Tourists?
A big thing that I wanted to work on coming into this year was offensive consistency. Being a player that is going to come out and you can expect productivity from every night and not just a couple games a week. I really worked on being more consistent with the bat; whether that's moving guys over, bunting when I need to, and overall productivity especially driving the ball to the gaps. Also, defensively filling that utility role - being able to play all the infield positions. I haven't moved around quite as much as I did last year and have been playing a lot more second base this year which I enjoy. But being able to maintain that utility role of being able to play first, second, third, short, and maybe even a little bit of outfield when needed.
You played a little bit of outfield this year and you caught the last out of a game; how was that experience?
I did. That was pretty sweet. I played outfield a couple times last year but I actually never (had the chance to) record an out playing out there. But this year I went out there for just one inning against Greenville and low and behold the ball will find you. It was a pretty high pop fly actually but it's definitely different than the infield.
With as much baseball as you play year-round, what is your outlet from the game?
Golf. I am very passionate about golf. It is something that my dad has played forever and he taught my brother and I how to play. So, we grew up playing golf on the side. It is something different that I really enjoy doing and getting out there competing on the golf course helps me take baseball off my mind when I need to. Also, I am passionate about cars, camping, hunting, and fishing. All of those things are good outlets.
Your dad, Cory, played in the Major Leagues for nine seasons. How has his experience in baseball helped you since you were drafted by the Rockies?
He prepared me for the clubhouse aspect and things like that beforehand. He was a coach in the Minor Leagues when I was growing up so I spent a lot of time in the clubhouse with him and around professional teams. Our experiences in the Minor Leagues and through baseball have been relatively different. He was a first-rounder that blazed through the system. That being said, he's still been there and done that as a player and a coach. He helps me deal with some things and is always there for me to talk to and help me understand that it is not always about the results that the process is big as well.
Your sister, Amberley, has quite a story. How has she inspired you?
I tell people all the time, my sister is one of the only things on this planet that can make me cry. She is pretty special. A little background on her story - she was a world champion in barrel racing rodeo events growing up in high school. She pretty much had the opportunity to go to just about any rodeo school in the country that she wanted to. Just after she graduated she was in an accident in her truck and was ejected from the truck and broke her back. She is now paralyzed from the waist down. This was in 2010 so we are coming up on eight years later and the obstacles she has overcome and she has since gotten back on the horse and still barrel races as a professional. We've rigged up her saddle literally from a junkyard. It started with a seatbelt from a junkyard. We Velcro and rubber band her boots into the stirrups and things like that. She still gets out there and competes and kicks butt so that triumph over tragedy is just incredible to watch. She has since started a motivational speaking career which has taken off and has taken her all over the country; sharing her story and inspiring people. Just to see her do that and see the effect and positive influence she has on other people is incredible. She has been asked if you could go back to that day would you change it and obviously anyone in their right mind would say absolutely. But to her she has realized how much impact and influence she has been able to have. It's amazing to watch.
Read more about Amberley's triumphant recovery.
Watch Amberley on The Ride with Cord McCoy.
And you have other athletes in your family as well?
Yes. My little sister cheers in High School. My brother played college ball and was drafted a couple times - great ballplayer. My oldest sister was a college gymnast at BYU and one of my younger sisters is big into rodeo as well. She is moving up the ranks in high school rodeo.
Circling back to baseball, what would a playoff run this year mean to you?
It would be exciting. You talk to guys who have been in professional baseball for ten, twenty, even thirty years and have never won a ring; whether it be in the Minor Leagues or the Major Leagues. Understanding that and taking that into perspective - I've only been in pro ball for a few years but that's an opportunity that you may never have. To have a team that I feel like we can do it and to be in a situation where we are just a couple games back, a playoff run for me would be special. It doesn't matter what you're doing, to win a championship is something you will never forget. I was lucky enough to win a state championship in high school and almost to this day that's one of my fondest baseball memories. I'll never forget it. That dog pile on the mound, celebrating in the clubhouse, or whatever it is - those are the things you'll never forget. A playoff push always makes it exciting.
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