With playing days over, Kramer Sneed becomes assistant coach at Barton

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After eight-plus seasons of professional baseball, Barton College standout Kramer Sneed has embarked upon a new career — back at Barton College.

Sneed, now age 29, has turned to college baseball coaching and his first position is an assistant for second-year Barton head coach Jim Chester.

Chester and Sneed, a left-handed pitcher in the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels organizations, are joined by Zach Ullrich and Anthony Marks in forming the Bulldogs’ 2018-19 staff.

Ullrich was a top assistant at the University of Roanoke, which reached the NCAA Division III World Series this past season, and Marks, a starting outfielder for the Coastal Carolina team that won the College World Series in 2016, is coming off a brief minor-league baseball stint.

“I never thought I would get my start back at Barton,” commented Sneed, who has relocated in Wilson and is busy in his new capacity.


Upon completing his four-year Barton career, Sneed was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft by the New York Yankees. The left-hander was acquired by the Angels from the Yankees on March 26, 2013.

Sneed progressed to AA, where he pitched for two years and compiled a 9-5 record in the AAA Mexican League in 2016. Through the 2016 season, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound product of Winterville compiled a 30-40 record and a 4.14 earned run average.

Upon being released by the Angels, Sneed pitched for a couple of teams in the independent American Association in 2017. In the Canadian-American League at the outset of 2018, he made four starts and decided to end his playing career.

“My arm didn’t feel right,” Sneed explained. “I saw the handwriting on the wall.

“But I wouldn’t trade those eight years for anything in the world. I may not be a rich person, but I am rich in experiencing life. Baseball took me everywhere — I saw the world.”

Sneed starred at Greenville Christian Academy, twice earning all-state acclaim.

He drew an occasional starting mound assignment as a Barton freshman and became a middle-of-the-week starter as a sophomore. Sneed emerged a mainstay starter in Barton’s conference series his last two seasons and finished with 14 career wins and an ERA just above 4.00.

Sneed was proclaimed All-Conference Carolinas in 2010 and, in June of that year, became the first Barton player drafted since 1995.


“He’s one of the best left-handed pitchers ever at Barton,” remarked Todd Wilkinson, Sneed’s Barton head coach and now the college’s athletic director. “He threw hard, knew how to pitch and worked hard at it. He just blossomed.”

Sneed turned to Chester about coaching college baseball and Chester excitedly offered him an opportunity at Barton.

“Kramer reached out to me,” Chester noted. “He was really excited about the direction we’re headed and felt he had a future in coaching.

“He was a successful player for Barton — which is extremely important — and he was really looking to give back and make an impact in young men’s lives. He’s here!”

Chester expressed that Sneed and Ullrich, the pitching coach, will complement one another splendidly. Chester pointed out that Sneed possesses eight years of professional playing experience, while Ullrich has spent eight years in college coaching.

“Kramer wore a Barton uniform and had success in that uniform,” Chester reasoned. “That’s a great attribute moving forward in his career. He had a great playing career against a lot of competition at a higher level. We are excited to give him experience in the college game and help his future course.”

Wilkinson assured Sneed will be a tremendous asset to the Barton program.


“I hope to get my name out there by doing some camps and giving lessons,” Sneed said, “and I hope to help some kids. I am extremely fortunate it worked out like it did. I really wanted to learn from (Chester’s) staff and learn the college game all over again.”

Sneed believes he will be adept at working individually with players, emphasizing the mental approach “I had to learn so much in the college and pro game.” Strong mental and physical preparation will merit much attention.

Sneed realizes a down cycle has marked Barton baseball the last few years, with the 2018 season being arguably the poorest in the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II history. Sneed contends such periods are inevitable for established programs.

“Barton has been through some tough times,” he said. “But (the Bulldogs) have an outstanding staff and things are going to get better really, really quickly and the tough times will be forgotten. I am super excited to learn from these guys; they have a wealth of knowledge.”

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Sneed, in fact, agrees with the circulating slogan: “It’s a really good time to be at Barton College.”