Angels News: Ron Washington Impressed By Nolan Schanuel’s Bat-To-Ball Skills
MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Not often does a recorded out by a batter reveal everything to love about a player. But that’s exactly what Los Angeles Angels manager Ron Washington saw from Nolan Schanuel in a play from the opening days of Spring Training. Schanuel came up to the plate with Taylor Ward at second base, then perfectly hit a ground ball to second, allowing Ward to advance to third and score on a sacrifice fly from Mike Trout.

Schanuel showed himself last year to have an incredible plate discipline from a rookie. He walked more than he struck out and had 30 hits in 29 career games. The Angels moved quickly to make him the first baseman of the future in Anaheim, parting ways with Jared Walsh and other big league first basemen in their organization.

And Washington, from that one play in Spring Training, sees everything he needs to know to like Schanuel and what he’ll bring to the Angels, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:

“He’s capable of doing that with consistency, and he might be able to do it with perfection,” Washington said. “Because of his bat-to-ball skill, I think that boy can pull the ball on the ground anytime he wants to.”

“I love that,” Washington said of Schanuel’s groundout. “To me, that’s a base hit, because he put us in a position to score a run with Mike Trout coming up.”

Schanuel proved he can do just about everything in his first 29 games except hitting for power. His .330 slugging and 25.6 hard-hit percentage do not tell the tale of a significant power hitter. However, Washington isn’t the least bit concerned by that.

“Power develops when you learn more about what you’re doing and you learn the element in which you’re doing it,” Washington said. “How much does he know about the American League? Very little. His power will grow. He will learn to use his power. In the meantime, I want him to learn how to play baseball.”

Schanuel has officially entered the potential cornerstone conversation for the Angels, alongside Zach Neto and Logan O’Hoppe, making his first true big league campaign one to watch closely.

Ron Washington warns Mike Trout to slow down

Washington, who has only been around Mike Trout this offseason and the beginning of the Spring, has a theory on what may be causing some of Trout’s injury issues and why his 2023 season was the worst of his career, finishing with an .858 OPS:

“You have to slow him down,” Washington said. “I’m not saying he’s out of control. But he’s out there every day and he’s giving everything he has, to lead as an example. And I just have been trying to tell him, you can still lead. But just slow it down. Don’t burn yourself out.”

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