The Los Angeles Angels have had a miserable month of September. Not only are the Angels 7-18 this month, but they've been swept in embarrassing series against teams like the Athletics and Tigers. Fans have watched countless members of this team go down with injury including Shohei Ohtani who was limited to just three September games. At least that's three more than Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon combined.
While the Angels have played mostly uncompetitive baseball down the stretch, there have been some bright spots. The Angels roster will look different next season, but these three players have earned a role in some capacity.
1) LA Angels first baseman Nolan Schanuel has already won a roster spot for next season
I'd be absolutely shocked if, assuming he's healthy, Nolan Schanuel wasn't the first player to take an at-bat for the Angels in the 2024 season. It's crazy to say considering the fact that he was playing college baseball just a couple months ago, but Schanuel has earned not only the first base job, but the leadoff spot as well.
Schanuel was brought up in mid-August to the surprise of many after just 22 minor league games. The Angels were still clinging onto the smallest of hopes that they'd make a surprise postseason run (didn't happen) but also wanted to see what they had with their 2023 first rounder. He's exceeded my lofty expectations without a doubt.
The first baseman is slashing .284/.407/.343 with one home run and five RBI in his first 123 MLB plate appearances. Yes, the power has been virtually non-existant. Especially for a first baseman, Schanuel has to find a way to develop at least some power at some point. For now, let's just appreciate his absurd on-base ability.
He looks like a ten-year vet at the plate with an elite eye. He's reached base in each of his first 27 games, putting him fourth all-time for players starting a career. He might not be a slugger, but teams need players who can get on base. If the Angels are able to find a way to bring Shohei Ohtani back, having a Schanuel-Trout-Ohtani top three would be pretty unreal. Regardless, they have their first baseman and leadoff hitter on lock for a while which is great to see.