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Arizona Diamondbacks All-Time Top 50: #47, Chris Snyder

Snyderman was mostly remembered for a certain injury. But there was more to his career than that.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
  • Avg ranking (high/low/most common): 40.05 (12/50/43)
  • Seasons: 2004-2010
  • Stats: 556 games, .233/.335/.402 = .737 OPS, 88 OPS+, 4.6 bWAR
  • Best season: 2008 - 115 games, .237/.348/.452 = .800 OPS, 103 OPS+, 1.8 bWAR

Second on the franchise list for starts by a catcher with 505, Chris Snyder was a home-grown product, being a second-round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2002. He moved quickly through our farm system, making his major-league debut only a couple of years later, in August 2004. At the age of 23, he was then the youngest catcher to play for Arizona. He became the regular starter at the position the following year, and outside of 2006, when Snyder was the back-up to Johnny Estrada, was the main incumbent at the position through June 2009.

A solid performer in 2007, he hit .252 with 13 home-runs, then .263 in the post-season. He drove in three of our meager eight runs during the NLCS against the Rockies, smacking an eighth-inning homer in Game 4. I seem to recall - but can’t find sources to confirm - that Snyder’s training regime included MMA work. But his bad-ass credentials were irrevocably awarded in the last game of June 2008 when he took a foul-tip from Corey Hard to the groin. He finished the inning, but Chris then missed 14 games with a badly-bruised testicle. Video of the incident I found “is no longer available due to a copyright claim by MLB Advanced Media.” For which, we thank them...

"I don't want anybody to ever experience that. That was the worst pain I ever felt in my life, hands down."
Chris Snyder

Snyder was rewarded for his agony with a three-year contrac”t extension from the Diamondbacks in December 2008. This covered Chris’s final two years of arbitration plus one of free agency, and was worth $14.25 million for the years 2009-2011, with a club option for 2012. Said GM Josh Byrnes at the time, “He handles the defensive side and the intangible side of the position very well. It's sort of immeasurable what he does as far as preparing for an opponent, working with the pitchers, the toughness that he brings." The general consensus of the SnakePit at the time for the extension seemed to be positive - but it went bad quickly.

Snyder appeared in only 61 games the first season of its operation, due to back issues that eventually required season-ending surgery in September. This health concern also stopped a potential trade with the Blue Jays a couple of months later, for Lyle Overbay (ironically, as a replacement for Rod Barajas, the man who was largely replaced by Snyder here!). Chris eventually left at the trade-deadline in 2010, traded with minor league prospect Pedro Ciriaco to the Pittsburgh Pirates for D. J. Carrasco, Ryan Church and Bobby Crosby. But his back continued to plague Snyder, and his career finished in 2013, after playing just nine games for the Orioles.

He retired the following April. At the time, Snyder’s 2,459 plate appearances without a stolen base were the second most in baseball history, behind Ross Nixon (2,715) - a third catcher, Wilson Ramos, overtook Chris last year, and at 2,528 may pass Nixon this season too [Nobody else who appeared in 2017 is even at half Ramos’s tally]. Snyder was 0-for-3 in attempts, his closest brush with stolen success coming as a member of the Diamondbacks in 2007. During the eighth inning of a game against San Diego, he was the trail man on a double steal with Chris Young. But as Snyder explained, "I face-planted. Lost it, tripped, fell. And I would’ve had it, too."