- KIRBY SNEAD/Special to Alachua County Today
GAINESVILLE – Kirby Snead, a UF baseball player and former Santa Fe High School standout, has been drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB) and will be headed to play with the team – most likely a minor league affiliate – in a few weeks.
Snead, a pitcher in his third year at UF, said he had meetings with scouts from various teams, but the Blue Jays selected him in the 10th round of the MLB Draft.
He said a scout he spoke to praised his pitching style.
“Well, my position is left-handed pitch,” he said. “There’s not many of those that come around, so I think I’m very unique in the way I pitch - I’m very good at coming into close games and keeping it close.
“I’m pretty excited for it. It’s something I’ve worked for my whole life. I’m just ready to get started.”
Snead said he started playing baseball when he was about 5 years old, and fell in love with the game. He said he tried football and basketball growing up, but didn’t enjoy either of them.
He also said he wouldn’t consider baseball a family sport – his father ran track in college and also played football for a time.
There’s a difference between the mindset of playing during high school versus college, he said.
As a baseball player in high school, he said he was only aware of what team he was playing against, while college baseball taught him that it’s important to fully understand the opponent in order to have an advantage.
“Coming to UF is probably the best baseball program in the nation,” he said. “[It] just kind of got me to realize how different aspects of the game work – more from a mental standpoint than the physical – just understanding the game more and learning more about how the game’s played.”
Some advice he would impart to any young players who are interested in pursuing baseball is simply to persevere.
“There [were] definitely days where I thought baseball wasn’t for me,” he said. “But I just stuck with it and it really got me to where I am now.
“Baseball is a game of failure – you’re going to fail more times than you succeed. I guess I would say stick with it. No matter how many times – you’ve just gotta stick with it.”
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