About a month ago, Southern baseball coach Roger Cador and pitching coach Dan Canevari met to discuss who would start the Jaguars’ midweek game against Nicholls State.
Cador wanted left-hander Jacob Snyder to make his career start. He had high expectations for Snyder heading into the year, and he believed Snyder could be a weapon in the rotation down the road.
Canevari disagreed. He was unsure if the true freshman was ready to take the reins, even in a midweek game.
“I remember the day I told coach Canevari that I like him as a starter,” Cador recalled. “He told me (Snyder) wasn’t ready. I said, 'Well, he may not be ready, but he will be.'
“I like the way his makeup is, the way he moves around and carries himself.”
Cador ultimately won the debate, and five starts later, Snyder could be the future centerpiece of the Jaguars’ rotation.
The John Ehret High School graduate is still inexperienced, but so is most everyone else in the Southern bullpen.
The Jaguars have leaned on Snyder more heavily the past few weeks as they battle through injuries and slumps that have hindered the bullpen. Snyder has responded, passing tests with flying colors.
After allowing just one unearned run on five hits while striking out five in 7.2 innings against Loyola on Tuesday, even Canevari came around to seeing Snyder as a viable option in the back half of the season.
“He’s been pitching well in the middle of the week and moving along,” Canevari said. “What it does for us is, if we’re fortunate enough to get in the conference tournament and if in fact we go to four games, we’re developing a fourth starter for that particular situation.”
Cador said Snyder will likely stay as the midweek starter for now but could move into the weekend lineup for the final conference series Arkansas-Pine Bluff in three weeks. No matter what, Snyder would be unavailable this weekend at Prairie View after throwing on Tuesday, and the Jaguars are off the following weekend.
There is a strong possibility in the future, Cador said, that Snyder moves to the coveted Friday starter spot, assuming his development keeps up through the offseason.
Cador wants to see Snyder pitch for contact with off-speed, breaking pitches, which is exactly what Snyder throws.
Snyder said his changeup lagged at points this season, but he’s liked what he’s shown the last two outings, both of which were wins.
Snyder (3-1) has the best ERA on the team at 1.76, allowing seven earned runs on 32 hits while striking out 22.
“Being a freshman, I like the midweek starts," Snyder said. "It’s giving me a lot of innings, which is what I really wanted coming here. Being a fourth guy, I would take that any day. Any time on the mound is good."