Davis Schneider (TOR): 3-3, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB.
It certainly has been a rookie debut to remember for Toronto’s Davis Schneider.
Expectations indeed weren’t high this year for the former 28th-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. Last season, Schneider hit a career-high 16 home runs in 113 games across three levels (High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A). Even though the .823 OPS was solid for a middle infielder, he only hit .253 and did strike out 116 times.
At 23 years old, Blue Jays fans wondered: Was Schneider finally coming around regarding power? Or was he more of a Quad-A player?
Schneider started the year in Triple-A Buffalo and played in 87 games before his contract was selected by the Blue Jays on August 4th. With Buffalo, he hit .275 with a .969 OPS and collected 21 home runs in 94 games and 371 plate appearances. The hitter-friendly environment of the International League certainly didn’t hurt, but Schneider proved to Toronto that he deserved a shot, especially for a team that needed all the hitting help they could get down the stretch.
Since being called up, Schneider has been sensational. In 10 games and 40 plate appearances, he is hitting .424 with four home runs and a 1.373 OPS. He does have 13 strikeouts, but he also has six walks, which shows that at least he’s demonstrating a patient eye at the plate. On Saturday, he hit his fourth home run and collected three RBI to boot.
It appears that he may be more of a lefty masher, especially in the power department. All four of his home runs this year have come off left-handed pitchers, and the Blue Jays have primarily played him on days when Toronto faced left-handed starters as well. That kind of platoon use makes it hard for fantasy managers to roster him on an everyday basis, but at the very least, he could be a solid DFS option when Toronto faces a lefty.
It’s very rare for a 28th-round pick to make an impact in the Minors, let alone at the Major League level.
And yet, Schneider is showing so far that he belongs, and Blue Jays fans, and DFS players should be riding with him whenever he is in the lineup, even if it may not be consistent.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday
Alex Bregman (HOU): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB.
Bregman and three hits on Saturday, with one being his 21st home run of the year. After a slow start, Bregman is one point away from a .800 OPS, thanks to a 962 OPS after the All-Star Break. The Astros are in a dogfight in the AL West with the Rangers and Mariners, so if the Astros want to win the division, they will need Bregman to continue this second-half pace in September.
Teoscar Hernández (SEA): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI.
The Mariners beat the Royals 15-2 on Saturday thanks to seven home runs off of Royals pitchers (including three of Jordan Lyles in only three innings). Hernández has two of the Mariners’ home runs, his 20th and 21st of the year. The 30-year-old outfielder has had a torrid August, as he has hit .300 with five home runs and a 1.007 OPS in 96 plate appearances this month.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA): 2-3, 2B, 3B, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB.
Ohtani has been shut down on the mound for the remainder of the year due to a UCL injury. However, that hasn’t stopped his performance at the plate or on the basepaths. Not only did he collect two extra-base hits on Saturday, but he got on base four total times and stole two bases as well. The Angels’ playoff chances are looking slim, especially with the Mariners, Rangers, and Astros atop the AL West. That unfortunately makes it less likely that Ohtani will be returning to Anaheim in 2024.
Justin Turner (BOS): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Turner got the best of his former team on Saturday, as he collected three hits, two RBI, and his 21st home run of the year. The 38-year-old has been solid in Boston, as he is hitting .290 with a .848 OPS. The Red Sox most likely will be out of the playoff picture again this season. That said, he has helped keep the Red Sox above the Yankees in the AL East standings, which is a nice consolation prize for Red Sox fans at least.
Nick Castellanos (PHI): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The Phillies won 12-1 over the Cardinals (bad day for Missouri baseball teams apparently) and Castellanos stood out, as he collected three RBI and hit his 22nd home run of the year. He is posting a career-low walk rate of 4.8% and the second-highest K rate of his career (27.9%). Those are items that should make Phillies fans concerned, especially with three years remaining on his current deal. But the power continues to be legit for Castellanos, as his barrel rate is 4.1% higher than a year ago and his hard-hit rate is up 9% as well.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
It continues to be “baby steps” for Hayes in his development, especially after injuries have held him back a bit this year. While he hasn’t had a full-blown breakout in 2023, he has shown positive steps in the right direction when healthy. His barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and sweet-spot percentage are all up from a season ago. Furthermore, he hit his 10th home run of the season on Saturday, which is the first time he’s touched the double-digit HR mark in a season in his career. Here’s hoping that 2024 is the season where things really come together for Hayes (and he stays healthy).
Matt McLain (CIN): 2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB.
The McLain train keeps moving in Cincinnati. McLain hit his 16th homer of the year and collected his 14th stolen base as well. He appears primed for a 20-20 season at least, not bad for a rookie. The Reds have faded a bit from the playoff picture, which is sad considering how exciting things were in Cincinnati in the middle of the summer. However, McLain and other young studs like Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte should make the Reds a popular division pick in 2024.
Adolis García (TEX): 2-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.
After ceding the division lead on Friday night to the Mariners, the Rangers were able to keep pace a bit on Saturday with a 6-2 win over the Twins. García collected his 32nd home run of the year and also boosted his RBI total to 94. García continues to be one of the best power hitters in the game, and it’s certainly possible that he could be a 40-HR hitter by the end of the regular season.
Andrew Benintendi (CWS): 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.
After hitting only one home run before the All-Star Break, Benintendi has hit four in the second half, including three in August alone. On Saturday, he hit his fifth home run of the year, which came off Athletics starter JP Sears. The White Sox are going through some reshuffling in the organization after they let go of front-office leaders Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn. Considering Benintendi signed a long-term deal though last offseason, it seems likely he will be back on the South Side in 2024, regardless of who the White Sox hire to lead the front office.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)