Angels Struggling Hitter Feels He's Getting Unlucky

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Entering the weekend series against the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels first baseman Nolan Schanuel was in a 3-for-27 slump. While the stats reveal an up-and-down season for the rookie, he feels comfortable.

Despite being scratched from Friday's game last minute with a sore thumb, Schanuel met with reporters including the Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher before the game saying that he felt "unlucky" more than anything else.

“I feel like I got a little unlucky the last week,” Schanuel said. “But that’s baseball. I’m just starting to figure it out. If you cut out my first 50 at-bats, I would be a lot better off obviously. Once I started hitting that stretch where I was used to being back in the swing of things, I think I got a lot more consistent.”

Schanuel hit .093 in his first 54 plate appearances, and since then he’s hit .257 with a .662 OPS. Overall, he’s hitting .224 with five home runs and a .622 OPS.

With each game he plays, the more experience he gains. He is only 22 and less than a year removed from playing college ball at Florida Atlantic.

The downside to his approach at the plate right now is that his walk rate is about half of what it was during his 29-game debut season in 2023. He admitted that he has been chasing more balls out of the zone.

“I would say I’ve been chasing a little bit, but at the same time I feel the strike zone has been a little bigger, to be honest,” Schanuel said. “That’s just something we have to deal with every day.”

Once Schanuel relaxes and feels completely comfortable in the box, he will return to his old self and do what he does best. According to manager Ron Washington, Schanuel is caught up in a mind game; once he wins it, he will be in a good spot.

“He’s young,” Washington said. “And he’s never been challenged like this. So he’s going through some mind games with himself right now. And he’s got to win that mind game. Because there’s a lot of baseball left.”

Maren Angus-Coombs