Schanuel impressed scouts with his natural hitting ability from the left side. With a projectable frame that should add a good amount of muscle in coming years,
In 2020, before his senior year at Park Vista High School in Lake Worth, Florida, Nolan committed to Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
After a strong 2021 season with Florida Atlantic, evaluators should feel better about his bat. Schanuel hit .343/.444/.576 with 11 home runs, 11 doubles and more walks (28) than strikeouts (21) and followed that up with an even better 2022 season. In his second year with FAU, Schanuel upped his home runs (16), upped his doubles (17) and hit .369/.477/.658 while walking (39) more frequently than he struck out (22).
In the summer of 2022, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound first baseman’s power didn’t fully translate to a wood bat in 27 games with Hyannis in the Cape Cod League. But he maintained his solid strike zone discipline.
Schanuel grew up a stone’s throw from Florida Atlantic University, attending sporting events at the school regularly. After an outstanding high school career in the region, he stayed in his own backyard for college ball and has been raking ever since. A starter from the get-go, Schanuel slashed .357/.462/.619 in his first two years with FAU, positioning himself as one of the better offensive performers, and was one of the nation’s top collegiate hitters during the 2023 season. (July, 2023)
July 2023: The Angels chose Schanuel in the first round (#11 overall), out of Florida Atlantic University. He signed for the on-slot bonus of $5,253,000.
There are quite a few tools that stick out about Nolan Schanuel. The No. 11 overall pick in the MLB Draft hits for power. He blasted 19 homers this year at Florida Atlantic. He plays a good first base, and has the ability to position defensively on the corner outfield. He’s a smart baserunner, successfully stealing 14 times in 15 tries.
But perhaps his eyes are the one stand-out asset for the Angels’ first-round selection. He’s a walk machine. His walk rate was 24.6 percent. And his strikeout rate was just 4.8 percent. A gaudy difference.
The reason for his monster season came down to a diagnosis in January of this year. He was told he had astigmatism in his right eye. Astigmatism is when the eye is curved differently. It had hampered his vision, particularly at night. Getting comfortable as a hitter was as simple as adding a contact.
“It was like the ball was not even in 3D or 4D,” Schanuel said. “Being able to see the spin of the ball directly out of the hand helped me so much.”
The Angels clearly were satisfied with his numbers, and likely picked him because he’s a projectable and polished college hitter. Only three players from the 2022 MLB Draft have debuted in the majors so far. All of them came from the Angels. One of them, Zach Neto, actually knows Schanuel from playing in the South Florida Collegiate League together before college.
Schanuel said he’d play wherever. He was hyper and emotional, noting he broke down in tears when informed that he’d been selected No. 11 overall. In his first conversation with the Angels, he said he was ready to pack his bags immediately and fly out west to sign.
A college player with an OPS over 1.400 probably won’t be in the minors long if he’s producing at a high level.
“I want to be right there with Zach Neto, Ben Joyce, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani,” Schanuel said. “I’m ready to be a teammate of theirs and get going.” (Blum - Jul 9, 2023 - The Athletic)
The Los Angeles Angels called up first baseman Nolan Schanuel, the No. 11 pick in July’s MLB Draft, the team announced Friday, August 18th. 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. (Blum/Law - Aug 18, 2023 - The Athletic)
Aug 19, 2023: Nolan Schanuel’s rapid ascent through the Minor Leagues is complete after just 21 games.
Less than six weeks after selecting Schanuel with the No. 11 pick in the 2023 Draft, the Angels called up the left-handed first baseman. The 21-year-old was slotted into the ineup against the Rays at the leadoff position, batting ahead of Shohei Ohtani, and went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and one walk.
“I found out the night before,” Schanuel said from the Angels dugout. “Wasn’t expecting it. I moved pretty quickly to Double-A. Just played the game I love and played it how I was taught to play. I didn’t change anything from what I was doing six months ago in college [at Florida Atlantic University].” The rookie had an eventful first game, converting an unassisted double play in the second before walking in his second plate appearance and scoring on Ohtani's grand slam. Schanuel also alertly finished off a rare 6-4-3-2 triple play in the ninth inning of the Angels' 9-6 loss in 10 innings.
“I wouldn’t even say I remember my first at-bat,” Schanuel said with a laugh. “I kind of blacked out. After the double play, the line drive, I snapped out of it and came down to earth. After that it felt normal.” Schanuel said he didn’t sleep at all but did sleep on the flight to Southern California. That was after he made some calls.
“I called my mom, woke her up and she was like, ‘All right, stop messing with me,’" Schanuel said. “My friends were like, ‘Come on, dude, you just got drafted six weeks ago. What are you talking about?’ Took them a little convincing.” But there he was, rounding the bases with Ohtani behind him after Ohtani’s grand slam in the second inning.
“That was amazing. Just to be able to see a ball hit like that from Shohei,” Schaunel said. “That was insane. Watching it go over my head into the stands was even better.”
Schanuel is the first player from the '23 Draft to make his MLB debut. His 21 Minor League games are the fewest by any player before a merit-based promotion to the big leagues since 2003, when the Brewers’ Rickie Weeks played in the same number of games prior to his callup.
The second spot on that list was formerly held by another Angel, infielder Zach Neto, a 2022 draftee who arrived in the Majors earlier this year following only 44 games in the Minors. (B Murphy & JP Lopez - MLB.com - Aug 19, 2023)
MLB debut - Aug. 18, 2023: After having a difficult season, the Angels had something to smile about as 2023 first-round pick Nolan Schanuel made his MLB debut less than six weeks after being called up to the major leagues.
Not only did he make his MLB debut and bat leadoff ahead of the great Shohei Ohtani, but he also got his first career hit and turned an incredible triple play, earning the praise of his manager, Phil Niven. (Sarah Morris)
|Birth City:||Lake Worth, FL|
|Draft:||Angels #1 - 2023 - Out of Florida Atlantic Univ.|
Schanuel should grow into 50 grade power. And with what is becoming a 55 grade hit tool, he can become a big leaguer. He has the reputation as a pure hitter. He has a strong approach plus loud exit velocities.
Nolan always seems to walk as much as he strikes out.
He’s always had an advanced approach at the plate.
- Spring 2023: Schanuel starts with his hands ridiculously high, but he gets ready on time and has a very quick bat that produces a lot of high-quality contact. He rarely strikes out, 7.9 percent last year and 7.3 percent so far this spring, with above-average power and some room to gain more. (Law - Mar 3, 2023 - The Athletic)
- 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. (Blum/Law - Aug 18, 2023 - The Athletic)
- Nolan doesn't have the speed to play center field. So he will need to develop power to profile in left field or right field.