Staten Island, NY - Summer is in full swing and none of us regular people are looking to gain weight for beach season.
We don't play baseball though. A few extra pounds on the frame can make a lot of difference for a player, especially a young one trying to keep up with his first professional season.
For Matt Snyder, the Yankees 2012 10th round pick out of Ole Miss, the season has been a successful one in a number of areas. In 31 games he's hit .315 knocking in 24 runs and drawing 16 walks. In June he received a NYPL Player of the Week honor. He has a .512 OBP in July with five multi-hit games in ten played.
"I've been trying to gain a lot more weight. Eating more and drinking a lot more water," said Snyder. "I'm working with our weight coach a lot. Last summer I weight 222 and I'm like 208 right now, so I need to get that back."
Synder,22, has spent the season working closely with Staten Island hitting coach Ty 'Hawk' Hawkins, correcting his approach at the plate, and, at the same time, Snyder has been learning to deal with the daily work that can take it's toll.
"Getting to the field so early and all the stuff we have to do before the game," he said, when asked what's been most difficult adjusting to.
As for the swing, he's needed to take care not to develop a bad habit. Hawkins has worked with the first baseman on not lunging at the ball.
There were some nerves contributing to his discomfort when the season began. If he was pressing, it was due to that classic desire to prove something, worried about making an early impression. That's not troubling him now.
"I'm more comfortable and relaxed. I know what to expect now. I was on the tip of my toes worrying about everything."
Here is where he wants to be. Not in Staten Island forever, of course, but in the Yankee pinstripes. This is the dream unfolding. The reality almost renders him speechless as he sputtered to explain the meaning of the Yankees in his own life.
"I can't possibly put into words how special it is to be on the Yankees. Ever since I was little I've been a Yankees fan. My dad and my grandparents and my uncle always talked about the Yankees, so I grew up a Yankees fan. If you have a tough day and go out there and don't hit, after the game you're upset. Then you realize you're still a Yankee. And that's something to hang your hat on."
Read my continued coverage of the Staten Island Yankees for Gotham Baseball Magazine.