Often on Prospect Profile, I like to feature prospects in the Jays system that average readers may not have heard of. Davis Schneider fits that bill.
The second baseman/left fielder had flown under the radar in the eyes of most Jays fans, that is, until now. Drafted out of high school in the 28th round of the 2017 draft, the 23-year-old has had a breakout 2022, which has seen him play at three levels in the Jays organization.
The New Jersey native began his pro career in rookie ball, where he slashed .238/.371/.393 with four homers in 210 plate appearances. In that brief time, Schneider had a 17.1 BB% and K%, showing a great eye at the plate, solid power, and some ability to hit. For the 2017 season, Schneider had a 123 wRC+.
In 2018, he played for Bluefield in the Appalachian League, a defunct rookie advanced league. There, Schneider has his only below-average season, slashing .233/.350/.376 with three homers in 161 plate appearances. His K% ballooned to 29.2%, while his BB% dropped to 13.7% for a wRC+ of 96, his lowest total at any level where he’s had over 100 plate appearances.
Schneider repeated the level in 2019, where he bounced back He slashed .313/.380/.550 with six homers in 150 plate appearances. Schneider had a 26 K% and a 9.3 BB%, far away from his first season, but he posted a 149 wRC+, the best of his career. He had a brief stint with the Short-A Vancouver Canadians (another defunct league), where he posted a 49 wRC+ in 66 plate appearances.
Of course with the pandemic arising, Schneider, like all minor leaguers, missed the 2020 season. He started the 2021 season with the High A Canadians, where he slashed .231/.348/.476 in 179 plate appearances. He had a 33 K% and a 14.5 BB% for a wRC+ of 118. He also had a career-high nine homers with the C’s.
You’d be forgiven if you haven’t paid attention to the 23-year-old. He’s only had 200 plate appearances twice in his five year career up until this season. Schneider was also drafted in a round that doesn’t even exist anymore over five years ago, so again, it’s understandable.
His breakout season:
A few players weren’t on my radar coming into the season, such as Damiano Palmegiani and Addison Barger. Thankfully those two have gotten the recognition they deserved, and it’s only a matter of time before Schneider joins them.
The 23-year-old utility player started the 2022 season with the Vancouver Canadians, where he slashed .229/.354/.459 in 189 plate appearances. His BB% increased to 15.3%, while his K% decreased to 26.5%. He also hit 8 homers, just one shy of his career-high he had established the season prior. This led to a 127 wRC+ with the Canadians.
He earned a promotion to Double A, where he slashed .283/.368/.476 in 190 plate appearances. He added 6 homers, beating his career high by five. Schneider also had an 11.6 BB% and 24.2 K%, leading to a 131 wRC+, the best since his 2019 season.
The 23-year-old impressed so much that when Lourdes Gurriel went down with a hamstring injury with the big club, Schneider was the player that was called up to Triple A to replace a departing Otto Lopez (who replaced Gurriel).
Although he’s only appeared in three games with the Buffalo Bisons, he’s already made an impact. In 11 plate appearances, he has a .250/.455/.375 slash line with a double and an RBI. Furthermore, he walked three times in his third game, showing that great eye at the plate. Obviously, this is a small sample size, but thus far he’s shown that this promotion is well deserved
What’s behind his breakout season?:
I asked an individual who had a chance to watch him daily with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats about the driving factor behind his 2022 season. Here’s what they said:
“There may be players who work as hard as Davis Schneider, but no one works harder. Consistently in for early work, and always applying himself. His stats this season are just a result of his process.”
When I asked about his defense, they noted:
“[Schneider] played mainly at second base and while he didn’t have a lot of chances to show off, every play was a high effort play from him.”
Speaking of defense:
Second base is could be considered Schneider’s defensive home, as he’s appeared in 342.2 innings at the position. Drafted as a third baseman, he moved to play more second in 2021. Furthermore, to improve his versatility, Schneider has seen 282.1 innings in left field, mainly with the Canadians this season.
It’s to be seen if he gets another opportunity at third, but as of now, it’s safe to call him a second baseman by nature with some versatility at left field.
When will he arrive in Toronto:
Due to his breakout season, Schneider has positioned himself to start the 2023 season in Triple A. If he can finish the 2022 season strong with the Bisons, there could be serious thought to adding him to the 40-man roster.
Speaking of which, Schneider is available to be chosen in the Rule 5 draft at the end of the season. If he continues the season strong, the Jays may need to add him to the 40-man roster to avoid exposing him to the rest of the league.
With all that being said, it’s been an incredible season for the 23-year-old, and he is an intriguing prospect to watch. There’s a good chance that Schneider will be a name you hear more often, as it’s likely that prospect sites such as MLB Pipeline and Baseball America will start to take note of his impressive 2022 season.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter. Up next in Prospect Profile should be Jimmy Robbins, so stay tuned!