Snitker proud of son's career path with Astros
Houston hitting coach hopes to continue in father's footsteps
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As Braves manager Brian Snitker looked across the field Monday afternoon and saw Troy Snitker prepping for his first season as the Astros hitting coach, he couldn't help but think about the countless experiences he had shared with his son here at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex and in countless Minor League cities.
"I raised him on a baseball field, in the clubhouse and on a bus," the reigning National League Manager of the Year said. "I remember when Glenn Hubbard gave him a little training glove that they used when he was a kid and hit him ground balls. So I'm probably to blame because he doesn't know any better but to do the baseball thing."
Looking back, Troy Snitker wouldn't have wanted his childhood to have unfolded any other way. Those many hours spent serving as a bat boy, experiencing long bus rides and observing his father helped direct him to his current role as a 30-year-old big league hitting coach -- who had just three years of professional coaching experience before the Astros promoted him this winter.
"I was always around and I was always watching," Troy said. "There were just so many experiences and lessons. I saw how [my dad] handled himself and dealt with the players and coaches and how he treated players and how he went about his business."
Astros manager AJ Hinch brought Snitker over from Minor League camp to serve as a coach and exchange lineup cards with his dad before two games last year. Repeating this ritual before Monday's 4-3 Astros win proved extra special for the Snitkers, who for the first time find themselves simultaneously preparing for a Major League season.
"He is a good blend of new-age analytics and the old-school way, so to speak,” the Braves skipper said of his son. "He's young enough and bright enough to where he embraces the new analytical age. Being a good blend makes him that much more of an asset to a team."
Troy Snitker has a firm understanding of analytics, and he has shown the ability to properly apply data while discussing mechanics and approach with hitters. Maybe more importantly, he seems to possess the same strong communication skills that his father has exhibited while spending the past four decades serving a manager or coach for the Braves at the Minor and Major League levels.
While serving as a hitting coach for Double-A Corpus Christi last year, Troy Snitker worked with Carlos Correa, Jake Marisnick and Brian McCann while they were on a rehab assignment. Each of these veterans returned to Houston with a glowing review.
"It was a common trend, guys were going down to Double-A and really enjoying their time with Troy," Hinch said. "So when we had an opening on the Major League staff, the organization and I were both in sync that he was a perfect fit for our team, given his intellect, his feel for the team and ultimately how he works with players."
Troy Snitker was drafted by the Braves in 2011 and spent two years as a catcher in the organization. He suffered a concussion that ultimately ended his playing career before the 2014 season, pushing him toward his current path, on which he hopes to continue following in his father's footsteps.
"As a father, it's special," Brian Snitker said. "I'm very proud of him."