With the 2023 MLB draft less than a calendar month away several names have been linked to the St. Louis Cardinals like Florida pitcher Hurston Waldrep and Texas Christian third baseman Brayden Taylor, but IF I’m making the selection for the Cardinals and this slugger is still available, one player stands out for me.
His name is Nolan Schanuel and he is arguably the best overall hitter in the entire draft.
What kind of player is Nolan Schanuel?
The 6-4, 220 lb. Schanuel played first base as well as some outfield defensively at Florida Atlantic but his hitting ability gets all the recognition. Schanuel is in the top two all of college baseball in batting average (.447) and was tops in OPS (1.483), on-base percentage (.615), bases on balls (71 in 59 games), and had nearly three times as many extra-base hits (41) as strikeouts (14).
While Schanuel might not be a household name because he didn't play at a higher profile university, the superior-hitting left-hander held his own against the best college pitchers when the Owls played higher profile teams like Miami (went 8-for-12 with 4 home runs, 6 RBI in 4 games), Florida (went a combined 4-for-7 with three runs scored in two games) and recorded 25 multi-hit games his senior season.
Schanuel also made school history becoming just the fourth First team All-Academic All-American in FAU history while becoming just the second FAU baseball player awarded the very prestigious honor.
Schanuel’s play and hitting ability might remind some of a former St. Louis Cardinal World Series winner in Lance Berkman, who helped the 2011 Cardinals come back to win the championships against the Texas Rangers in what many St. Louis Cardinals fans consider the most memorable and recognizable WS comeback win in the franchise's history.
Schanuel combines a keen eye at the plate with sneaky speed on the bases (stole 14 of 16 bases his senior season) with a steady glove in the field.
If the Cardinal’s organization wants a player that can get to the major league level in a relatively quick manner and wants a complete, professional type hitter, look no further than Nolan Schanuel.