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Nolan Schanuel’s Career Is Off to A Pleasant Surprise

Nolan Schanuel is a pleasant surprise for the Los Angeles Angels. He was drafted 11th overall by the Angels in 2023, yes, 2023. Furthermore, Schanuel made his major league debut 40 days after being drafted. That’s good for fifth all-time, doing it 46 days faster than the next closest modern-day play, Ryan Zimmerman, who did it in 86 days with the Washington Nationals, respectfully. Without a doubt, this wasn’t in the plans when he was drafted. However, he adds a lot to this 2023 team.

Nolan Schanuel Understands His Role 

Nolan Schanuel Is An OBP King

Generally speaking, how a player is in college usually doesn’t translate to professional baseball. Nolan Schanuel’s slash line at Florida Atlantic was .447/.615/1.483. In addition to 74 walks, he only had 14 strikeouts in 59 games played. He has a great understanding of the strike zone. It makes sense that the Angels took him with the 11th pick. He has the building blocks for a player who can get on base at a high rate, a frame that he can grow into, and plays a position that has suddenly become open.

Baseball has changed a lot over the years. Even so, the Angels have been behind the eight ball in certain aspects of the new sabermetrics baseball style that is so common nowadays. For instance, the Angels highest OBP guy is Shohei Ohtani, the team leader with a .412 OPB. The next closest player in the category is former Angel Hunter Renfroe, with a .304 OPB. In case you missed it, he is now on the Cincinnati Reds. Brandon Drury and his .302 OPB will pass Renfroe in defense of the Angels.

The pleasant surprise is that Nolan Schanuel has shown that he has the patience at the plate right out of the gate. As soon as  Schanuel got to Anaheim, he got right to work. At the same time, he started his career with a 10-game streak and currently has 20 games on-base streak. He will be an excellent thing for the Angels in the long run. A guy who can hit and get on base for other guys in the lineup is a plus. In short, the well-roundedness will benefit the Angels sooner rather than later.

Nolan Schanuel Will Improve

On the negative side, Schanuel leaves a lot to be desired in the power department. Even though his slash line of .276/.409/.290 isn’t that bad. His average is excellent. The OBP is equally as perfect only if his singling percentage was higher. .290 in the slugging category won’t get it done. In the hope that he can gain some power as things continue, it wouldn’t be shocking if he started next season in AAA. That might come down to how the Angels handle the first base position in the offseason. Although it may be unlikely that the Angels will fill that position from the market, it is a fair question.

How the Angels will handle the offseason is an exciting topic. They have young, talented players who they could ride with. With how the Angels have moved in recent years, it might be a combination of young guys with veterans who have been there before. Albeit it’s something many wouldn’t want to see. In contrast, the alternative places older players in those who failed repeatedly. Letting the kids play and grow is the strategy for 2024. Guys like Schanuel could improve immensely with this mindset.

Schanuel has been a pleasant surprise this late in the season. In the view of letting the young players get the chance to play in games with playoff implications. This contrasts with allowing the regular lineup to play, even with the Angels being entirely out of the playoff race. Schanuel is going to improve as time goes on. Nevertheless, it’s going to be rough at times. It would pay off in the long run for the Angels and Schanuel as the organization moves into a new era of baseball.

Photo Credit: © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


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