After a stellar weekend against the Boston Red Sox, Blue Jays rookie Davis Schneider likely needs no introduction.
With the Jays needing a jolt to their lineup amidst a recent slide against AL East rivals, they called upon one of their best bats in Triple-A, as Schneider was one of the top hitters on the team with his .275/.416/.553 slash line, .969 OPS, and team-leading 21 home runs through 309 at-bats. Split-wise, Schneider actually boasts better numbers against right-handed pitchers and he can play numerous positions defensively, including second base, the corner outfield spots, and third base as well.
A 28th-round pick back in 2017, Schneider’s first at-bat against Canadian southpaw James Paxton was storybook worthy last Friday night, as the righty-batter launched a changeup for a 377-foot bomb into the Green Monster seats, barely staying in the stadium altogether.
Rookie Davis Schneider makes an instance impact with the Blue jays
He would finish that day going 2-for-5 at the plate. On Saturday, Schneider added to his hit total, going 3-for-3 at the plate with one walk and one run scored, helping the Jays win the next game 5-4 before the club erupted on Sunday for 13 runs, with the rookie adding another home run over the Green Monster and putting four more hits into the box score along with four RBIs.
On the weekend, the New Jersey product went 9-for-13 with two home runs and five RBIs as the Blue Jays went on to sweep the three-game series against Boston.
Schneider is the fourth Blue Jays player to hit a home run in their first Major League at-bat, while he became the first player in MLB history to collect nine hits and two home runs through their first three games. As well, Schneider became an even bigger story when Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae found out that he was using a glove that he had acquired from a lost and found bin where he trains in the offseason, with more details emerging that the glove belonged to the late John Vukovich.
After dropping three of four against the Baltimore Orioles, Schneider’s contributions were a huge step forward for the Blue Jays, as the two clubs are close in the Wild Card standings, but the Red Sox had the Jays’ number all year long prior to this past weekend, taking all seven contests.
Before Monday night’s games, the Jays held a five-game lead over the Red Sox for the third Wild Card spot while the Red Sox were passed by the New York Yankees, who now sit half a game ahead of them in both the AL East and Wild Card standings.
Schneider and his Minor League Story
For Schneider, the route to the big leagues was not for the faint of heart, as the 24-year-old climbed every rung of the Minor League ladder to get to where he is today. Schneider struggled for a few years after the draft, posting up and down results that kept him below A ball heading into 2020, which presented its own struggles as the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the Minor League season that year.
Even after he struggled in 2021, Schneider has emerged as one of the most underrated hitters in the Jays’ farm system, working his way to Triple-A Buffalo just last year while using a simple swing to drive the ball across the diamond and utilizing his 5-foot-9 frame to play multiple positions on the field.
Those struggles though almost deterred Schneider from pursuing a career in the big leagues, as the righty-batter almost quit back in mid-2021 when he was seeing infrequent playing time and was not performing well at the plate in High-A Vancouver.
Speaking to Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling, Schneider goes into detail about how he almost quit playing and how a text to former teammate Dom Abbadessa kept him in the game, “He texted me back, and he was like, ‘Just keep going with it. Because if I was still there, I would never want to give it up ever again… That helped me stick with it and push through. And just take the chance. Even if it’s a small one. Just go for it.”
In a day and age where baseball prospects are under the microscope 24/7, Schneider has seemingly become a very quick success story. Over the course of two years, Schneider has gone from struggling for playing time in High-A, to leading off against the Cleveland Guardians, which he will be doing for a pivotal Monday night affair.
While it’s safe to say that his current pace will likely taper off at some point (a .600+ batting average is likely to bounce back), Schneider is taking full advantage of the opportunity and the Blue Jays are a better team for it, especially if the sample size is currently limited to sweeping an AL East rival.
Blessed with one of the best moustaches in the league, “Babe” Schneider was the exact jolt that this offense needed and the team is better for it with him in the lineup on a daily basis for the time being.