This Guardians prospect is showing surprising power

May 19th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Mandy Bell’s Guardians Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Everybody loves power.

Why wouldn’t they? It’s flashy and exciting for fans. It’s the quickest way to put multiple runs on the board for teams. It’s exhilarating for hitters. But the Guardians’ organization hasn’t been one to produce a lot of power over the last handful of years.

Kyle Manzardo and Bo Naylor hope to change that narrative in the near future. There are bats like Jhonkensy Noel in Triple-A Columbus that have the potential to be the answer. But someone few expected to bring some pop is demanding attention with Columbus so far this season: infielder .

Schneemann was selected by Cleveland in the 33rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft. He’s 27 years old and has yet to make his Major League debut. He’s never been known for his power, and through his first five years in the Minors, he never emerged as a standout. But this year is a different story.

It started in Spring Training, when Schneemann not only played all over the diamond, but also broke out offensively. He went 13-for-39 (.333) with a double, one triple, two homers, eight RBIs, six walks and a 1.012 OPS in 20 games.

“Schnee showed a lot this spring,” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said this spring. “Versatility defensively. The at-bat quality to me is what really stood out, and whether this guy came off the bench in the seventh inning, eighth inning, started the game, the way he ran the bases, the teammate he was, he really impacted camp a lot and I know I enjoyed getting to meet him and the coaches just raved about him. Daniel had a phenomenal camp.”

Cleveland has known Schneemann for a while, but this year has put him on the big league radar. The utilityman entered Saturday leading all of Cleveland’s Minor League prospects in the following offensive categories: RBIs (33), OPS (1.066), doubles (13), walks (34), runs scored (34), extra-base hits (22) and total bases (82). He’s second in homers (eight), trailing just Manzardo and Noel (nine).

“He’s one of those people that you feel he’s just so reliable,” Vogt said. “Like, he defines reliability, whether that means he’s going to be ready for the pinch-hit at-bat he’s gonna get in the seventh inning or ready to be in the right place and cut off some relays or capably play second and wherever we put him on the diamond. That says a lot about a guy, that he’s just reliable. No matter when he’s called upon, he’s ready to come in and contribute.”

The Guardians were adamant that they could envision Schneemann making an impact on the big league roster this year. The question is, how does he get there? If Cleveland would give someone like Brayan Rocchio or Gabriel Arias a chance to improve offensively in the Minors, that would easily open a spot on the big league roster. But Schneemann has also been playing in the outfield to help his chances of sneaking his way to the big leagues. With the numbers he’s posted so far, he’s earned that chance.

“The reports on Schnee is that he kept his spring rolling and then some,” Vogt said. “I’m really excited about Schnee.”

This is what's happening elsewhere in the Guardians' system:

Double-A Akron: Outfielder has started to heat up this month. In his first 12 games in May, he hit .280 with three doubles, two triples and seven RBIs.

High-A Lake County: It’s hard to get off to a better start than outfielder Guy Lipscomb has this year. His .372 average and .471 on-base percentage entering Saturday led all of Cleveland’s Minor League prospects. In his first 14 games in May, he had at least one hit in 13 of them.

Single-A Lynchburg: Outfielder Esteban Gonzalez just had his 13-game hitting streak come to an end on Friday, but that didn’t hurt how hot he’s been. He entered the weekend with a .323 average and a .916 OPS.