Spring Training is starting up and we are just a few weeks out from seeing who is on the Durham Bulls roster to start the season. While it easy to guess some of the names that might appear at this point, I am trying not to get ahead of myself, make a bunch of posts, and then end up not seeing that player end up in Durham. So, I am going to do a few safe bets over the next months. I already did a Jared Sandberg at the end of January.
Next up in my Collecting the Durham Bulls series is the pitching coach for Bulls this year Kyle Snyder. Snyder pitched for UNC in the late 90s after being drafted by the Devil Rays in the 1996 amateur draft and opting for college instead. His second time around in the draft he went seventh overall to the Kansas City Royals.
Snyder's early cards are right in my collector wheelhouse in the late 90s and early 2000s, but after spending an hour or so sifting through some boxes of Royals cards, my collecting of Snyder cards honestly stinks. He has a card in the 1999 Topps Traded set, which is his true rookie card, but if you are looking for something cool I would try to find a nice parallel or serial numbered card from the era. My two best Snyder cards are a Topps Finest Refractor, which is numbered to just 500 copies, and a Bowman Chrome refractor.
Now, here is where my Snyder collection falls surprisingly falls off. He has autographed cards, but I do not own one. I know it's pretty shocking because I always have autographs of these guys from the late 90s. Snyder? I am not sure why I never went there. He was a high draft pick and a good prospect, but I just never got around to it I guess. They are dirt cheap, so if you are in the market there are plenty of them out there for just the right price.
This is the pricing breakdown at COMC on his 1999 Topps Traded Autograph....
I might have to pick one of these up after I am done typing. In the meantime, let's talk a bit about Snyder's cards outside of his early years. Snyder reached the Majors in 2003 and started 15 games for the Royals going 1-6. He spent a lot of time on the disabled list with the Royals and ended up tearing his labrum and missed the entire 2004 season. In spite of the injuries Snyder was rated as the 7th best prospect by Baseball America in 2003. During this stretch, he did miss a lot of time, there are plenty of nice base cards of Snyder pitching for the Royals.
If you were going to add just one Snyder base card to your collection I would recommend something from 2006 or 2007 while Snyder was pitching for the Red Sox. It's true that much of Snyder's career was limited by injuries he did have one good season in 2007. The cards prove he was there.....
The Red Sox used Snyder as a spot starter on the 2006 squad and brought him back to work in the bullpen in 2007. He ended the 2007 season with an ERA+ of 125, the best mark of his career. More importantly he earned a World Series ring with the team after the Red Sox beat the Rockies in the fall classic that year.
I'm going to get to work on buying one of those autographs of COMC. In the meantime, I am also looking forward to seeing Snyder's work this season with the Durham Bulls pitchers. He's done well with Bowling Green and Hudson Valley in past years.