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ASU Baseball: The new role of the three-year veteran

(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)

With Opening Day just one short week away, three-year veteran Andrew Snow is ready.

He’s ready to play Pac-12 baseball again. He’s ready to put on his maroon cap with the Arizona State University patch on the front. And he’s ready to lead this young ASU team in his new role as a leader.

Snow hasn’t worried about having a leadership position in the past and is getting used to be looked upon as a veteran.

“It’s definitely new because as a freshman or a sophomore you’re just trying to do the best you can,” Snow said. “My freshman year, my goal was to get on the field, so it was more a personal experience throughout the whole season.”

With two solid seasons under his belt, Snow will likely be a key cog in the infield in the 2017 season. He batted .276 in the 2016 season with 13 doubles and looks to improve on his already steady batting average this season.

Snow rode an All Pac-12 honorable mention during his freshman year into his sophomore campaign, and while he took a step back, he still had a very productive year in one of the best conferences in the nation.

While the junior from Woodland, California has played second base in 83 out of his 92 career starts with the Sun Devils, ASU head coach Tracy Smith has moved Snow to third base ahead of his junior season with the expectation that he will be the everyday starter.

Snow isn’t the type of player to shy away from a task like shifting positions. Instead, he embraces the challenge.

“I’m actually looking forward to it,” Snow said. “There are a lot of balls hit to third and you’ve got to make some hard throws so I think it’s definitely a big challenge and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Ben Greenspan has coached Snow for three years now, and can see his maturity being reflected in how he has handled the transition.

“He’s been willing to move and whatever he thinks is the best for the team, he’s willing to do it,” Greenspan said. “I think that in itself shows some leadership and selflessness.”

This season, Snow looks to be the only upperclassman starter in the infield that has played all his time with the Sun Devils.

While Snow will be the only infielder with multiple seasons as ASU under his belt, there is no shortage of talent and experience in the infield. Fifth-year senior and transfer Jackson Willeford is in line to get some early starts at second base and junior transfer from Northwestern Florida State College Taylor Lane, appears to be getting the first look as the starting first baseman. Highly-touted freshman recruit Carter Aldrete and sophomore local kid Jeremy McCuin have also played themselves into some playing time, according to head coach Tracy Smith at practice Wednesday.

The group of infielders looks like they will move around as the season progresses, but it looks like Snow is at third base to stay. The junior infielder will be not only expected to play well but also lead an infield that hasn’t played a single regular season game together.

The ASU skipper mentioned that Snow doesn’t just go about his business in a proactive manner but also has a drive to compete.

“He’s a guy that’s done it for a couple years already but one thing you never worry about with him is his intent to win,” Smith said. “He’s doing a good job of not only taking care of his business but helping some of the other guys out.”

This “intent to win” was not something that only the head coach talked about but also Snow himself.

He explained that the team winning is so much more important than one player.

“It all comes down to building a team,” Snow said. “You can be a good player on a bad team but nobody really cares about that. I want to be on a team winning.”

With ASU having the no. 1 recruiting class in the country, Snow is excited for 2017 and beyond. Since he is a junior that has proven he can not only handle but flourish against Pac-12 pitching, he will be looked upon by more players for guidance and his leadership will be put more on display.

He used the term “result-oriented” as the best way to explain his leadership style.

“I’m a big believer that you need to be putting up numbers before you can give people other advice,” Snow said.

While the proposition of starting to become a leader in the infield while also taking over a new starting role at a different position may seem daunting, Snow’s not nervous at all but is ready to dive in.

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Rob Werner

Rob Werner is an ASU Baseball beat writer for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network.

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