The Los Angeles Angels are calling up first baseman Nolan Schanuel, the No. 11 pick in July’s MLB Draft, ESPN reported Friday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Schanuel, 21, batted .339/.480/.475 in 16 games at Double-A Rocket City. He previously played five games across the rookie league and Single A combined.
- The Florida native slashed .447/.615/.868 with 19 home runs in his final college season at Florida Atlantic University. With Schanuel getting called up this far into August, he will not get 45 days of service time and lose rookie eligibility for 2024.
- Schanuel is the first position player since Conor Gillaspie in 2008 to make his MLB debut during his draft year.
- Los Angeles is 60-62, sitting fourth in the American League West. The team has lost 11 of 15 games in August.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Why this is happening
The second the Angels drafted Schanuel, this felt inevitable. He might not have had the highest upside in the draft. But he was considered the most polished college bat. The Angels’ plan is clear. They’ve already called up three players from the 2022 draft — the first three players from that draft to make their MLB debuts. They didn’t get Schanuel to have him play in the minors.
The Angels are basically out of the playoff picture, and this is a chance to get a good look at Schanuel as they decide whether or not to make him their first baseman for 2024. They drafted him out of a need at that position, not something many teams do with their first-round picks. We’ll see how smart a decision this all is shortly. He was playing in Conference USA two months ago. Now, the major leagues. — Blum
Schanuel was one of the most advanced hitters in the 2023 draft class and had the most impressive stat line this spring, posting a .447/.615/.868 line with 71 walks and just 14 strikeouts for FAU. He didn’t do it against SEC or ACC competition, and there were some questions about whether he had the raw power or contact quality to project as a 25-plus homer guy. He can definitely hit and has an excellent feel for the strike zone, rarely chasing and rarely missing fastballs anywhere, so while he’s limited to first base he could still end up an above-average regular in time because of his average/OBP skills.
In the short term, the Angels are so desperate for any offense out of first base — they’ve got an aggregate .239/.290/.385 line from the position this year, ranking 26th in the majors by wRC+ — that Schanuel might actually be able to help right now just by getting on base a little more. He’s not going to save their season, but their first basemen have been so bad I think this call-up actually makes sense, even though Schanuel probably hasn’t even sold his textbooks on eBay yet. — Law
If you’re a college prospect in the draft, you sure want the Angels to pick you at this point — their 2022 first-rounder, Zach Neto, reached the majors in less than a year, and now their 2023 first-rounder is getting to the majors in less than two months. Every Angels first-round pick since 2011 has reached the majors at some point other than 2019’s Will Wilson, whom the Angels traded that same winter to dump Zack Cozart’s contract. — Law
(Photo: Amy Clevenger / Rocket City Trash Pandas)