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Spokane Indians

Belting for titles: Spokane Indians’ Jake Snider plays key role in team winning first half of Northwest League season

Jake Snider has been around in his baseball career. So when he was recently promoted from Low-A Fresno to the High-A Spokane Indians, he took it in stride. Even if he was taking the place of Braiden Ward, one of the hottest minor -league hitters this season.

“This is like my sixth or seventh year pro ball,” Snider said. “I know what my game is, what I have to do. Just go out there every night and give 100% of what my game is. And I mean, that’s all I can do.”

Snider, a 26-year-old outfielder, is hitting .292 with a remarkable .452 on-base percentage in 21 games with the Indians so far. He has hit four homers with 15 RBIs and six stolen bases. All that comes on the heels of a .311/.497/.495 mark at Fresno before the promotion.

When asked to describe his game, Snider said he’s “a hitter.”

“I’m not gonna blow anyone away with power or anything, but I’ll hit for doubles and will try and make stuff happen on the bases. That’s really my game.”

He has fit right into the lineup with the Indians, who clinched the Northwest League first-half title on Sunday with a win over Vancouver.

“It’s a good offensive group overall,” Snider said. “Just a really solid baseball team. Starting pitching is obviously phenomenal. And the bullpen I mean, I trust all the guys they run out there every night. So I mean overall, a really good team.”

Snider loves that every night there seems to be a different hero for the club.

“It’s really good when you have nine guys in there that obviously the staff trusts, but as players, we all think that any guy in that lineup can get the job done – whatever needs to get done.”

Snider played in college at Louisville, where his father Eric is the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He was selected in the 20th round of the 2019 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates and spent a couple of seasons in the Pirates organization, including an injury-plagued season in 2021 when he only played in seven games for Low-A Bradenton. He played a year of independent ball before signing with the Colorado Rockies organization last season.

“I had a little bit of an injury bug, got released, played a year of Indy ball in ’22 and had a super great time,” Snider said. “It was a bunch of older guys, former big leaguers and AAA guys that just wanted to play. They would just come in and compete every day.”

Independent ball is a difference experience than affiliated baseball.

“Some guys were obviously looking for another chance to play, but some guys were 35 years old. They knew that their time was done, but they just still loved to play,” Snider said.

“It was cool seeing guys who had been in the big leagues, been in Triple-A, been around for a super long time. I played with a guy who played in Japan for 18 years – his best friend was Shohei Ohtani. So it was cool to play with a guy who came from afar, a drastically different background than anything I’ve ever seen.”

With his father in the baseball business, Snider understands about the constant adjustment of playing for a different team every season.

“We kind of just went to that life early,” he said. “I think when I was 15 (his dad) just stuck me on a train and shipped me out and said ‘You’re going here for the summer to play.’ So I’ve had a while to get used to it.”

Snider wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with his father through high school. The two, however, grew closer when Snider reached Louisville.

“I think that honestly brought us a lot closer and now it’s a drastically better relationship in terms of like father/son,” Snider said. “We talk all the time now.”