In the fastest big league promotion in decades, the Los Angeles Angels are calling up first baseman Nolan Schanuel less than six weeks after taking him with the 11th pick in the draft, sources told ESPN on Friday.
The 21-year-old Schanuel, who has logged fewer than 100 minor league plate appearances across 21 games and was at Double-A before his call-up, is the latest player summoned by the Angels to salvage a season with dimming playoff hopes on the verge of Shohei Ohtani’s free agency.
The Angels are 60-62 and seven games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the final American League wild-card spot.
Schanuel was considered perhaps the most advanced bat in a renowned 2023 draft after hitting .447/.615/.868 with 19 home runs, 71 walks and just 14 strikeouts in 289 plate appearances at Florida Atlantic University this season. Still, he was not expected to be the first player since the 20th century to debut so soon, following just 40 days in the minor leagues.
Outside of Ariel Prieto — a 25-year-old Cuban who arrived within a month of being drafted in 1995 — Schanuel’s debut is the fastest since 1979, when Texas promoted left-hander Jerry Don Gleaton, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The last position players to come to the big leagues this quickly were Atlanta third baseman Bob Horner (10 days) and Toronto catcher Brian Milner (17 days) in 1978.
The last player to debut this early in his drafted season was Chris Sale, who came up Aug. 6, 2010 — about two months after the draft, which was moved to July in recent years. Schanuel’s ascent is even more rapid, though it does align with Los Angeles’ philosophy of aggressive promotions.
The Angels called up their 2022 first-round pick, shortstop Zach Neto, in mid-April after 201 minor league plate appearances. They had the quickest debut from a 2021 draft pick, too, in right-hander Chase Silseth, who went from an 11th-round pick in 2021 to a big leaguer in May 2022.
Schanuel might be the most polished and prepared of all. With his hands held high in the air, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Schanuel uses an unconventional left-handed swing to showcase exceptional bat-to-ball skills. In 96 plate appearances across three minor league levels, he is hitting .370/.510/.493 with 21 walks and just 10 strikeouts.
He will join an Angels lineup that needs all the thump it can get. While Ohtani is locking up another MVP season, the Angels are exhausting all options to win now, however futile it might seem. Though they expect the return of outfielder Mike Trout and catcher Logan O’Hoppe to solidify the lineup, Neto remains out with a back injury and trade deadline acquisitions Randal Grichuk and C.J. Cron both have sub-.600 OPS since joining the Angels.