Snyder steers Bulls with career night

Rays infielder goes yard, plates seven runs, scores twice in rout

Brandon Snyder eclipsed his previous professional best of six RBIs, set in 2012 and 2017. (Carl Kline/MiLB.com)

By Josh Horton / MiLB.com | July 2, 2018 11:47 PM

Brandon Snyder has been a member of six different organizations, made some fleeting stints in the Majors and has struggled to break through from Triple-A in the twilight of his career. Through it all, the Rays utilityman is still as happy as can be. 

Snyder demonstrated that Monday, driving in a career-high seven runs while going 4-for-5 and falling a triple shy of the cycle in Triple-A Durham's 14-3 rout of Gwinnett. 

Video: Snyder deposits two-run shot for Durham

"Oh man, it's awesome," Snyder said. "I thank God that, one, I have the opportunity that I have the opportunity to play the game this long and, two, that he gives me the ability to maintain my focus through all these ups and downs. It's been a tough year, but the one thing that has been really good though is the way that we've been playing baseball and winning games. We have a lot of guys in the team that probably aren't doing as great as we'd want to be. But at the same time, when you're winning games, it keeps you focused and on the verge of being able to have a good night.

"Just being able to settle in with the guys [has been great]. We have a great clubhouse, great coaching staff, it's been a pretty nice transition. Just being able to go out and play the level of baseball that we've been playing this year is fun to be around." 

The Bulls lead the International League South Division with a 48-34 record.


Gameday box score


In 54 games with Durham this season, Snyder is hitting .232/.357/.441. Signed by the Rays as a Minor League free agent in the offseason after batting .263 with 23 homers last season with Triple-A Syracuse, he was a viable candidate for Tampa Bay's utility infielder role after compiling a slash line of .237/.341/.441, but was optioned to Durham on April 2. 

He was called up on April 17 to play in two games for the Rays, but was designated for assignment three days later. He cleared waivers and accepted a reassignment to the Bulls. It was an easy choice for Snyder. 

"Especially after the season I had last year, I had high hopes for coming in and doing big things this year. I came in, had a good spring and came pretty close to making that team," he said. "I was kind of bumming out, not playing well, but for them to kind of show me, 'Hey, we want you up here.' Even if it's for a couple of days, it was good for me and kind of reminded me why I'm here and what I'm supposed to be doing here.

"Obviously getting DFA'd stinks. but at the same time, I didn't think about going anywhere else. It's a great city, a great baseball town and my family enjoys it here. Coming back and having that kick in the butt to play in the big leagues and they want you up here, you just have to go back and get back to doing your thing and have the cards fall as they may." 

Snyder said he's grown fond of Durham in a short amount of time -- as has his family, including wife Lindsey, 5-year-old daughter Kinsley and 2-year-old son Bowen. 

The 31-year-old poked an RBI single to left field in the opening frame and walked with the bases loaded in the second. Snyder ripped a double to left to plate another in the third and drove in two more runs with a single up the middle the next frame. After striking out in the sixth and switching from first base to catcher, Snyder concluded his night with a two-run jack to left. 

Originally drafted as a catcher out of high school, the Las Vegas native played the first two seasons of his pro career behind the plate. He still serves as an emergency backstop and embraces that role. 

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"It's something that I miss," Snyder said. "I don't necessarily miss the way my body feels when you catch, but at the same time, I miss going back there and calling pitches and catching. Every time I have the chance to do it, I'm always up for it. I think that if it's something you can do and do it well, why give it up?"

Snyder drove in six runs in a game twice in his career -- in 2012 for the Texas Rangers and in 2017 with Triple-A Syracuse.

He has played 13 professional seasons with six different organizations after being drafted by the Orioles in the first round in 2005. He's a career .240 hitter with nine homers in 200 big league at-bats. 

Josh Horton is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @joshhortonMiLB This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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