Snyder walks it off for hometown Nats vs. Astros

February 23rd, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla -- watched the Nationals beat the Astros in Game 7 of the World Series from his couch in Warrenton, Va., about 50 miles outside of Washington, D.C. On Sunday, he watched his walk-off, game-winning single evade the Astros’ defense from the batter’s box at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Snyder, who grew up in northern Virginia, played hero in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Houston in Spring Training split-squad action. With two outs in the ninth, he drove in Jakson Reetz for the deciding run. The 33-year-old clinched a victory for his hometown team and the organization he has been part of for years, but with which he has yet to make a Major League appearance.

“I’m really happy to be back,” Snyder said. “I love what they’re doing here. I love the organization. I love the guys. Obviously getting a chance to play in D.C. is something that means a lot to me because being close to home would be absolutely amazing. But at this point, I’m just so happy to be here and relaxed and having a good time and trying to get some knocks when I can.”

Snyder joined the Nationals for Spring Training in 2017. That season, he appeared in 121 games for their Triple-A affiliate. He played in the Rays' organization the following year (including two big league contests) and returned to the Nats’ Spring Training in ‘19. Snyder slashed .257/.314/.537 with 31 home runs and an .852 OPS over 117 Triple-A games with the Fresno Grizzlies.

But Snyder was not called up to be on the Nationals’ championship-winning roster last season. He had been in the same situation with the 2013 Red Sox, so he wasn’t caught off guard by the decision.

“It’s always tough, but at the same time, I understand. I’ve been around a long time,” said Snyder, who was drafted by the Orioles in the first round of the 2005 Draft. “Would I have loved to have been in D.C. to be experiencing that? You better believe it. There’s no doubt about it. But with the roll that they were on and the atmosphere of the clubhouse and the energy that they were carrying, I understand. You don’t want to start kind of going elsewhere. You want to kind of stick with your guys, and I understand that.”

So Snyder watched the team win its first title from a distance. He still felt part of the group, having developed friendships with the players who lifted the trophy. Four months later, he with them again, helping them win another game.

“He’s a professional,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He plays multiple positions. He had a good year last year at Triple-A, deserved to be here this year in camp. I like him. He swings the bat well. As you see, he was very calm, very patient, he was able to put the ball in play.”

The Astros even made a pitching change with two outs in the ninth to take out lefty Ryan Hartman and put in righty Ronel Blanco to face right-handed Snyder, adding a regular-season, late-game feel. Snyder capitalized on it, and he made an impression in just the second game of Spring Training.

“It’s huge,” he said. “Obviously, I’ve been with these guys before. They know me. They know the time of player that I am. Any time that you can go into a situation and have a good outcome obviously is great.”