Nolan Schanuel makes an impact in first MLB series

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
On Friday, Nolan Schanuel became the first player from the 2023 Draft to play in the majors. One MLB series later, he’s already made a positive first impression.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — All eyes were on the Angels on Friday after they made the decision to call up 2023 draft pick Nolan Schanuel

The Angels 11th overall selection made his MLB debut on Friday night, just 40 days after he was drafted. Batting leadoff in front of Shohei Ohtani, the 21-year-old first baseman has made quite the impression in his first three major league games. 

“He plays the game hard, plays the game right,” said Angels manager Phil Nevin. “You can look outside the numbers, and you can tell when players are winning players, and for two days, I’ve seen a winning baseball player out there.” 

From his first major league hit to a handful of defensive plays that showcased his high baseball IQ, Schanuel’s first series against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend was stacked with impactful moments. 

Here’s a look at some of the highlights from his first series in the show: 

Setting the Stage for Shohei Ohtani

In his second major league plate appearance, Schanuel worked against Rays pitcher, Erasmo Ramírez, forcing him to throw eight pitches before taking a walk. Following hits from both Hunter Renfroe and Luis Rengifo, Schanuel’s walk loaded the bases for Ohtani, who launched his 43rd home run of the season — a grand slam — 389 feet into right field. 

First Major League Hit in First Major League Game

Schanuel logged his first major league hit against Rays righty, Jason Adam, on Friday night, sending a 95.7 mph four-seam fastball into left field. 

Throughout the series, he recorded three total hits and scored four runs.

Making Triple Play History

On Friday night, the Angels turned the seventh triple play in franchise history and the first one since July 5, 1997 — and Schanuel was part of it. 

With runners on the corners, Harold Ramirez hit a ground ball to Rengifo who threw to Brandon Drury to get the force out at second. Drury threw to Schanuel to get the out at first, and after seeing the third base runner headed for home, Schanuel made a quick decision to go to Logan O’Hoppe who laid down a successful tag at home plate. 

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the young first baseman is the first player to be part of a triple play on his MLB debut since Kansas City’s Sal Fasano on April 3, 1996. 

“I thought he moved around the bag very well,” said Nevin. “Those are just baseball awareness, high IQ plays, which is everything we’ve heard about him.” 

Competitive Base Running

When a pitch got past Rays catcher Rene Pinto during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Schanuel saw an opportunity to score an extra run and took it. His competitiveness on the bases and awareness scored the Angels a run in the third inning which made all the difference in a close game where the Halos held onto a 7-6 victory.