Snyder debuts with clean 9th inning, first K

'Holy cow': Right-hander retells story of callup to Rangers

August 22nd, 2021

Every baseball player dreams of the day they’ll get the call to the Majors. In Nick Snyder’s case, he got 15.

The righty reliever, who made his MLB debut with a clean ninth inning in the Rangers' 10-1 victory over the Red Sox on Saturday night, was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. He revisited the night (and morning) he received the news he’d be joining the big league club in Boston:

“It’s a pretty funny story,” Snyder said. “I was playing Call of Duty late the night before, probably until like 2 a.m. And then I keep hearing buzzing in my sleep. I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ And I subconsciously wake up I guess, and see 15 missed calls and [director of Minor League operations] Paul Kruger’s calling me at that moment. So I answered the phone all groggy like, ‘Hey Paul, what’s going on?’ And he’s like, ‘Hey there, [are] you a little worried? You missed 14 calls.’”

Worry sank in momentarily for Snyder, before Kruger’s next words snapped him out of his grogginess and turned the worry into excitement.

“You’re going to the big leagues, man,” Kruger said. “Glad you picked this up.”

The attempts to reach Snyder started around 5:30 a.m., and the news was finally delivered by 7. Fifteen calls later, who was the first person Snyder dialed to share that he was going to be a big leaguer?

“My dad. My dad and my mom, of course,” Snyder, 25, said with a smile. “I think they were more excited than I was, it was pretty cool.”

The Rangers wasted no time with Snyder, sending him out for the ninth inning Saturday. The right-hander worked quickly in a 1-2-3 frame, earning his first big league strikeout against Boston slugger J.D. Martinez. Snyder threw 12 pitches (eight for strikes) averaging 99.6 mph and topping out at 100.5.

“We knew he threw 100 [mph], but it’s different when you see it live,” manager Chris Woodward said. “You see the 99, 100, 101, pitch after pitch. But I think the most impressive thing was that he fell behind 3-0 first batter, was able to go three straight strikes and get [Kyle] Schwarber out. And then, not a bad guy to get your first strikeout against in J.D. Martinez, one of the better hitters in baseball. So he’ll never forget that.”

Snyder spent much of his baseball life as a shortstop, until he was convinced by scouts to give pitching a chance. Fast forward to 2017, when Snyder was selected by Texas as a reliever in the 19th round of the Draft out of Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Fla. He played two seasons with the Rookie club before making his professional debut with Class A Advanced Hickory in 2019. Snyder appeared in 33 games with Hickory, compiling a 3.06 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 53 innings before undergoing Tommy John surgery in '20.

The reliever joined the Rangers on Saturday ahead of their second of three games against the Red Sox. On Friday, Woodward discussed the excitement of playing in front of a Fenway Park crowd, and mentioned that for many players this was their first trip to the historic ballpark.

“It’s crazy,” Snyder said. “I tried to envision this before the season started, and it all seemed like pipe dreams. As it’s gone on, it’s just like, ‘Holy cow.’ … It was a lot to take in, especially coming here. First game at Fenway, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh.’”

Snyder is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA over 33 innings with 47 strikeouts and five walks across three Minor League levels (High-A Hickory, Double-A Frisco, Triple-A Round Rock) this season.