In what could only be thought of as a last-ditch effort for the Los Angeles Angels to make an unlikely postseason run, the team promoted Nolan Schanuel straight from AA Rocket City just months after being drafted.
There was precedence for a move like this set by the Angels as they were the first team to promote a player from the 2021 draft class in Chase Silseth, and earlier this season became the first to promote a 2022 draft pick when Zach Neto was called up in April. Silseth hasn't quite stuck in the majors quite yet but Neto has really established himself as the team's shortstop of the future.
Neto's ascension gave Angels fans hope that the team being this aggressive with Schanuel wouldn't blow up in their faces. The young first baseman has been awesome to begin his MLB career.
Nolan Schanuel is quickly establishing himself as the team's future leadoff hitter and first baseman
Schanuel has already eclipsed the 22 games played that he had in the minors by appearing in 24 games in his Angels career. In those 24 games he's slashing .289/.423/.344 with one home run and four RBI. He's drawn an absurd 18 walks in just 111 plate appearances while striking out just 13 times.
Two things have been abundantly clear about Schanuel since the moment he stepped in a big league batter's box. First, his eye is already among the best in baseball. He rarely ever chases, and walking at a 16% clip tells you all you need to know about that. Second, he puts the ball in play. This Angels team strikes out a ton. They struck out 19 (!) times in Wednesday's victory in Tampa Bay. Having Schanuel find a way to fight pitches off and stay in at-bats has been a breath of fresh air.
He might not hit for much power yet, but stats like these simply aren't normal. He's reached base in each of his 24 games, and it's not like the streak has been extended in a fluky way like with him being hit by a pitch. He has either recorded a hit or walk in each one of his games.
It was easy to question whether anyone, even someone who was as good as Schanuel in college, would be ready after just 22 minor league games, but the Angels risk has paid off already.
Schanuel has already, in such a short period of time, cemented himself as the team's leadoff hitter and first baseman not only down the stretch but in 2024 and beyond. He has a ton of value as an elite on-base threat right now, imagine what happens when he develops some power. The Angels really have something here.