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OC Register: Angels rookie Nolan Schanuel demonstrates plate discipline beyond his years

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PHILADELPHIA — When Nolan Schanuel was at Florida Atlantic University, he began doing a drill to teach himself the strike zone.

“Anytime I was practicing, if I swung at a ball or took a strike, I kicked myself out of the cage,” the Angels’ rookie first baseman said.

The coach throwing batting practice or one watching from behind the cage would be the arbiter of which pitches were strikes. Schanuel said at first he would get bounced from the cage four or five times per round.


“Once a week,” he said. “If it’s a bad week.”

In just 31 plate appearances in the majors, Schanuel has demonstrated an advanced strike zone knowledge. Manager Phil Nevin said he has never seen a player so young be so good at that part of the game upon his arrival in the majors.

It’s one of the reasons the Angels made the stunning decision to bring the 21-year-old to the big leagues just 40 days after they took him in the first round of the draft.

“I’ve never seen a young player come up the way you have and slow things down in the batter’s box,” Nevin said he told Schanuel. “All that tells me is everything else is going to slow down really quick for you, quicker than most.”

Heading into Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Schanuel had seen just 117 pitches in the majors, but he had swung at just 19.4% of pitches out of the strike zone. The major league average is 28.4%. The result has been seven walks and four strikeouts, leading to a .348 batting average and a .516 on-base percentage.

Schanuel still doesn’t have his first major league extra-base hit. He hit just one home run in 96 minor league plate appearances.

“Right now, my job is to get on for Shohei (Ohtani),” Schanuel said. “That’s my job. If I get on first and he hits a home run, it counts the same as if I hit a double and he hits a homer. I’m just trying to get on base for him. Get on base for (Brandon) Drury, get on base for (Mike Moustakas). Just trying to make everybody happy and score some runs.”

Schanuel was back at the top of the Angels’ lineup on Monday after missing two games with some kind of stomach problem. He said it hit him around 2 a.m. on Saturday, and he started to feel better late Sunday afternoon.

He’s still not sure what he had, whether it was from something he ate or just a bug he caught.

“Honestly I went to the hospital and they said a bunch of different things,” he said. “I kind of blacked out and don’t remember. I feel a lot better now. Ready to play.”


The Angels are still monitoring right-hander Chase Silseth after he was hit in the head by a throw on Saturday night. Silseth spent a few hours in the hospital before they released him.

Silseth has been in the clubhouse for the past two days, but he said Monday he’s not yet ready to talk about what happened.

“Still obviously a pretty good knot on his head,” Nevin said. “A little bit of a headache. He took a pretty good shot. A bruise is what we’ll call it, but we’re still monitoring and doing some tests on him. But we feel like he dodged a bullet.”


Mike Trout (fractured hamate) is “getting better each day,” Nevin said. He isn’t swinging a bat, though. The Angels are giving the outfielder some more time for the pain to subside after he attempted to play last week. …

Shortstop Zach Neto (back inflammation) hit off a tee and did some throwing on Monday. …

Catcher Matt Thaiss (right shoulder inflammation) underwent tests that ruled out a serious injury. “He’s OK,” Nevin said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s got some soreness in his shoulder that makes it tough to throw right now. We feel good he’s going to be alright.” …

Outfielder Mickey Moniak was set to receive his National League championship ring from the Phillies before Monday’s game. The Angels acquired Moniak from the Phillies last August.


Angels (LHP Tyler Anderson, 5-5, 5.35) at Phillies (RHP Michael Lorenzen, 7-8, 3.69), Tuesday, 3:40 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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Wow! An Angels' hitter that actually understands his role is to set up the guys behind him. I was starting to think that the object was to try to hit a home run on every swing. There's only one guy in the lineup who should have that approach, and nobody else has his ability, but they act like they do.

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18 hours ago, AngelsWin.com said:

“Still obviously a pretty good knot on his head,” Nevin said. “A little bit of a headache. He took a pretty good shot. A bruise is what we’ll call it, but we’re still monitoring and doing some tests on him. But we feel like he dodged a bullet.”


Lmao, not so much.

@Jeff Fletcher someone had to have snickered at that, yeah?

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