Angels top prospect eerily resembles Shohei Ohtani with latest home run swing

The Angels' top young hitter is giving folks some big Ohtani vibes.
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

One of the more surprising developments for the Los Angeles Angels last season was, without question, the ascent of Nolan Schanuel. The Angels picked Schanuel at 11th overall, which was already a bit of a reach considering how he was ranked by the industry before the draft. However, polished college hitters tend to go higher in the draft than they are ranked, so no big deal there.

What was shocking, though, was that the Angels promoted Schanuel to the big leagues less than six weeks after they picked him. In other sports, draftees basically jumping right into the thick of things is par for the course. For baseball, these sorts of promotions just don't happen anymore, and it spoke to just how desperate LA was to bolster their roster last year while Shohei Ohtani was still on the team.

Obviously, that gambit did not pay off, as the Angels' trade deadline moves fell flat, they missed the playoffs once again, and Ohtani ended up leaving for the Dodgers. However, no one can blame Schanuel, as he held his own at the first look at the big leagues and now is doing his best Ohtani swing impression down at spring training ahead of the 2024 season.

LA Angels' Nolan Schanuel could be poised for a big year in 2024

First off, Chris Towers is pretty spot on here with the Schanuel/Ohtani comparison. While no one thinks that Schanuel is going to go out there and just seamlessly replace one of the truly great players of this generation, the mechanics of Schanuel's swing when he really turns on a pitch are eerily similar to what Ohtani's swing looks like.

The Angels are going to have to hope for more of that in 2024. Schanuel does a lot of things well, but the one aspect of his game that did not show up very much in his 29-game major league debut was his power. In 132 plate appearances in 2023, Schanuel only slugged .330 with only four extra-base hits to his name. With developing Schanuel's power and his defense a priority this spring and those adjustments starting to pay off, good things are on the horizon for him.

The Angels have to hope that is going to be the case, at least. With a lineup full of young guys that need to prove that they can produce at a high level and a pitching staff that has a whole lot of questions at the moment, they are going to need as much production out of Schanuel as they can get.

Ohtani-lite? Eh. We'll see about that.

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