Schuemann's roller-coaster day ends with some career firsts

April 21st, 2024

CLEVELAND -- When elevated a first-pitch cutter from Logan Allen in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 6-3 A’s loss to the Guardians at Progressive Field, his fan club consisting of about 15 friends and family members sitting just beyond the visiting dugout couldn’t bear to watch.

The night had already been a roller coaster of emotions for the Schuemann clan. In the second inning, Schuemann clobbered a ball that looked as if it would land for his first Major League hit.

The ball was roped at an exit velocity of 102.3 mph and carried a Statcast-projected 390 feet, causing the group to rise as one, sensing the big moment was near. Instead, Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan perfectly timed a leap at the left-field wall and robbed Schuemann of extra bases, much to the chagrin of his loved ones in disbelief.

“I was a little pissed off when that first one didn’t go,” Schuemann said.

So when Schuemann’s fly ball in the fifth sailed towards right-center, he and his supporters watched in suspense. This time, it was real. The ball cleared the fence and landed in the Guardians' bullpen for a game-tying, Statcast-projected 383-foot solo blast. It was Schuemann’s first big league hit and home run, all in one.

“Both feelings off the bat were great,” Schuemann said. “I got a good pitch in my second at-bat and put a good swing on it.”

The loud roar from the Schuemann group -- which included his parents, John and Lisa, his brother, Logan, and college roommate John Rensel Jr. and his family -- was audible throughout the entire stadium. Just before crossing home plate, Schuemann pointed to their area of seats in section 151 where the pandemonium ensued.

“I didn’t really hear them,” Schuemann said. “I was kind of zoned in. But I knew where they were sitting. When I touched home plate, I gave them some love.”

Upon returning to the dugout, Schuemann walked through a tunnel of high-fives from his teammates who were ecstatic to see him go yard.

“He smashed the ball in his first at-bat to left that kind of got knocked down,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “It was a good approach by him. I’m sure he’s relieved. He should feel good about that.”

Schuemann’s journey is about as feel-good as it gets. A 20th-round Draft pick by the A’s in 2018, the 26-year-old grinded through 470 Minor League games before receiving his first call to the Majors on April 11.

Though Saturday was Schuemann’s sixth Major League game, it was only his third start. After a couple of close calls over the past week, he finally got his first hit.

“The anticipation was a little stressful, for sure,” Schuemann said. “I’m just trying to stay locked in on my role for the team to help them win games.”

The versatility of Schuemann, ranked Oakland’s No. 20 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is his calling card. Over six Minor League seasons, he’s logged over 100 innings at every position on the diamond except pitcher and catcher.

The super-utility role is one Schuemann embraces. It’s what helped him get to Oakland, and an asset the A’s have already been utilizing. During last Saturday’s game against the Nationals at the Coliseum, Schuemann started in center field before moving to third base in the seventh inning, becoming the first A’s player to play those two positions in the same game since Scott Brosius on Sept. 28, 1995.

To prepare for the role, Schuemann carries an outfield and infield glove. On Saturday, the club had him take pregame grounders at first base and provided him the glove of A’s third baseman/first baseman J.D. Davis, who is currently on the injured list.

"I don’t know when I’m going to be in the lineup,” Schuemann said. “But I come in like I’m going to play every day. I’ve felt pretty comfortable all the way around. … I just feel like I’m ready to play anywhere at any time.”

Schuemann will likely make his way around each position over the coming weeks. He can do so now having lifted the weight off his shoulders by notching a couple of firsts just a two-and-a-half hour drive from where he played college ball at Eastern Michigan University. He also showed off his speed in the seventh by swiping second for his first stolen base after drawing a walk.

“The first hit anywhere is something special,” Schuemann said. “Obviously, I’m a little closer to home. To do it in front of all my people, it’s pretty fun.”