Travis Snider struck out Joey Votto. Travis Snider the outfielder.

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Travis Snider has never really lived up to the potential people thought he had when he was a first round pick back in 2006, but maybe he just needs to be put in the right role. Like, say, the guy you bring in to strike out dangerous lefties? That’s what the Pirates’ outfielder did last night when, thanks to rain delays and game which was 9-3 in favor of the opposition to start the ninth, Snider was called on to pitch to the Reds.

He was no great shakes, that’s for sure. He retired Skip Schumaker on a groundout, but then walked the next two hitters, gave up an RBI double and then gave up another run on a fielder’s choice. That brought up Joey Votto, with the speedy Billy Hamilton on base. And Snider did what everyone expected him to do: struck out one of baseball’s best, most patient hitters swinging.

Go check it out here. Then remind yourself that anything is possible.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.