Nolan Schanuel grew up in Boynton Beach, Florida, less than 15 minutes from Florida Atlantic University’s campus in Boca Raton. His proximity to the Division I campus caused Schanuel and his family to regularly attended sporting events at FAU.
Once Schanuel started receiving college recruiting interest, it was clear early in the process where he wanted to continue his baseball career. The well-regarded prep prospect committed to FAU, and now about three years later, the decision to attend the quality mid-major program has paid off.
In his first two years at FAU, Schanuel has developed into a quality hitter and a potential first-round pick in the 2023 MLB draft.
“I love the beach, I love the atmosphere, I love that my family gets to come to every home game, and the coaching staff is amazing,” Schanuel said. “I really couldn’t turn this down. The recruiting process was amazing, and this is where I wanted to be.”
Schanuel has a chance to surpass C.J. Chatham, who went 51st overall in 2016, as the highest pick in FAU history with a strong junior season.
“Knowing that I could have a pro career after my time at FAU is awesome,” Schanuel said. “I try not to look at that stuff and try to avoid it. But it is consistently pushed in my face, so I look at it a little bit. I’m just trying to worry about the team and winning.”
Schanuel is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound left-handed hitting infielder/outfielder known for his advanced offensive toolset. He has an exceptional approach at the plate with a notable feel for the strike zone.
Mechanically, he uses a slightly unusual setup and a leg kick as a timing mechanism. Schanuel consistently barrels up the baseball, makes hard contact, and hits for average and power.
“My mentality is my biggest strength,” Schanuel said. “Ever since I got on to campus, I have learned how to flush bad at-bats and move on. That is one of the biggest parts of my game.”
Defensively, Schanuel has almost exclusively played first base in his first two years at FAU. Playing first base has been an adjustment for Schanuel, who was an outfielder in high school.
Schanuel’s versatility will benefit him moving forward. He has the skill set to handle a corner outfield spot due to his solid athleticism and average speed. He likely will play in the outfield this spring.
“They moved me back to the outfield, so I want to work on outfield drills and my arm strength,” Schanuel said. “I want to help the team out defensively. I also want to work on my speed, so I can track down balls and then also steal more bases than I did last year.”
In his first two years at FAU, Schanuel hit .357 with 28 doubles, 27 home runs and 112 RBIs in 423 at-bats in 113 games. He will play an important role in the middle of FAU’s lineup this season.
The Owls are coming off a 35-23 record last spring. They have had 24 straight winning seasons and only four losing seasons in their 42-year history.
This season, the Owls are seeking their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2019. They have qualified for the tournament 14 times but have never won a regional. Schanuel hopes the Owls will break that trend and make a deep postseason run this season.
“One thing I want to do is win a conference championship, go to a regional and hopefully make it to Omaha for the College World Series,” Schanuel said.
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.