(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
As the only freshman to be a regular starter for Arizona State last season, Andrew Snow has entered the 2016 season with robust confidence.
The second-year second baseman is part of a formidable middle infield duo alongside Colby Woodmansee, and after a humbling summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League, is looking to build on a freshman season in which he hit .300 with 24 RBI and 18 runs scored.
To this point, Snow has been featured primarily towards the bottom of the Sun Devils’ order, but is seen as a purveyor of power in that part of the lineup. Through eight games, he is hitting .414 (12-for-29) with three doubles and five RBI. He also leads the team with a .469 OBP. The hot start for Snow is no fluke, as he showed signs of gap power last season and is finally putting it together.
“It’s baseball, you can’t go out there and hit home runs every time,” he said.
Snow has a plan for himself and went into the preseason with specific goals in mind for how he plans to improve his game.
“I have been working on my speed on the bases and hitting overall,” he said. “I have been working on being able to hit the outside pitch consistently and being able to turn on the balls in.”
The development of Snow is imperative for the Sun Devils, especially given the signs of inconsistency he showed throughout the summer and into the preseason. Although some of the doubts have gone away after a strong start, the mental concerns are still there, as Snow’s lapses in the field have not gone unnoticed. On Friday night against Xavier, he was picked off third base with no outs, costing ASU an important baserunner.
These sorts of issues escalated to the point where his head coach Tracy Smith was expressing concern over him before the season even began.
“He needs to get back on the page of preparing properly and making sure he is in it every single day,” Smith said. “He can’t just rely on what he did last year, but what made him so special last year was that he played with a chip on his shoulder, and we would like to see him do that now because his play has been very inconsistent.”
Smith also mentioned that the Sun Devils were trying multiple players at second base before the season, something they should not have been forced to do, but felt that they had to because of concerns over Snow.
Now that Snow has safely found his way into the ASU order and seems like he will answer the mental challenge by continuing to get on base so much it doesn’t matter, Snow has begun to focus on a leadership role that would seem to be good for him. As one of the more outgoing and outspoken players on the team, he is a natural fit for the leadership position.
“I always thought that leaders were made, not given to anyone,” Snow said. “I am the kind of guy who likes to see leaders play well. I don’t want to see guys who aren’t playing well tell me what to do. As far as helping guys out, I am going to try to do it with my play.”
He mentioned Gage Canning as a freshman that he has been working with specifically to encourage to have the same mindset that he did last season.
“I just see my game as I’m trying to get more consistent every year,” he said. “I want to keep getting better with everything I do, my skill, my defense, and as far as keeping the pitcher on his heels and make it tough for him.”
As an expected mainstay in the lineup for at least the next two years, Snow will need to show consistency and maturity on and off the field. If he can achieve a healthy balance of both, his future looks as bright as anyone on the team.