It seems like every media outlet has covered it to death: the Braves horrendous start, the anemic offensive attack, and now the oddly timed firing of Fredi Gonzalez. Despite all of the coverage, not much has been made of the Braves new interim manager. So let us take a moment, and get to know Brian Snitker.
Snitker has certainly earned his chops in the organization, as he has been with the Braves at some capacity since he broke into professional baseball back in 1977. Snitker went on to play for three seasons, making all the way to AAA, but never managing to crack the big league club. Snitker played catcher, like many other successful managers, as well as first base. After retiring as a player, Snitker then held an array of minor league management positions across all levels, amassing a .499 winning percentage over 19 seasons. His minor league managerial career is highlighted by back-to-back Carolina League championships with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 1999 and 2000. On top of his managerial experience in the minor leagues, Snitker Served as the Braves third base coach from 2006 to 2013, as well as a couple of stints as Atlanta’s bullpen coach in the 80’s. Snitker’s most recent position was Manager for the Gwinnett Braves. All Snitker has known is the Atlanta Braves organization and its players, and that is why he may be the perfect man to take over managerial duties for the rest of the season.
It’s no secret Atlanta is rebuilding, and generally lacks any semblance of talent at the Major League level. With historically awful offense and a winning percentage south of .300, it is obvious the future of the team still lies down in the minor leagues. With a career winning percentage as a manager just under .500, it perhaps is not Snitker’s prowess as a manager that secured him the job for the rest of the season, but his familiarity with some of the organization top prospects.
Snitker has managed a wealth of the Braves top young players, including many players already in the major leagues. According to MLB.com, five of the organization’s top 20 prospects are currently playing at Triple A Gwinnett, where Snitker has managed for the past two+ seasons. On top of those players, Snitker also managed some of the top prospects that have recently made the jump to the Major Leagues, like Mallex Smith and John Gant. While the Braves may not undergo a miraculous turnaround akin to the 1914 Boston Braves with Snitker at the helm, we will likely see plenty of good young players develop at the major league level, and that is pretty exciting.
Don’t fret Braves fans; Brian’s resume is nothing to “Snitker” at.
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