It took seven years for Davis Schneider to reach the big leagues—and just one weekend for him to be compared to Babe Ruth.
Schneider’s path to The Show was a long and unlikely one. The infielder was a 28th-round selection back in 2017 and didn’t even make it to Double A until ’22. Never considered a top prospect, he spent all of this season at Triple A before finally receiving the call to make his big-league debut on Friday night against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
And with one swing, Schneider’s baseball story got the Hollywood moment it needed, with the 24-year-old homering in his first career plate appearance. By the end of the three-game series, though, it was clear this was no one-hit wonder.
Schneider followed his two-hit debut by going 3-for-3 with a walk on Saturday. He capped the weekend by going 4-for-5 with four RBIs during Sunday’s 13–1 demolition, delivering a 425-foot moonshot homer that cleared the stadium to help Toronto complete the sweep.
THAT'S BABE SCHNEIDER TO YOU! 💥 pic.twitter.com/KBaMC3lks1
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 6, 2023
Schneider began the series as an inspirational symbol of perseverance and self-belief simply by the fact that he was here. He ended it as Toronto’s No. 3 hitter with nine hits in 13 at-bats and an OPS approaching 2.000, becoming the first player in MLB history with nine hits and two home runs in the first three games of his career.
Schnedier’s arrival could not have come at a better time for the Blue Jays, who entered the weekend just one game ahead of the Red Sox in the loss column for the American League’s final wild-card spot and finished it with Boston well behind in the rearview mirror. FanGraphs had Toronto’s playoff odds at 62.6%—its lowest in a month—before Schneider’s Friday night debut. Now, that number has shot up to 75.2%
While nobody could have possibly predicted such a thunderous debut for Schneider, it’s worth wondering what kind of season he could be having if he had gotten this opportunity sooner. He had a .969 OPS at Triple A with 21 homers in 87 games, and surely warranted a look at second base considering the options the Blue Jays had been working with for most of the year.
Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal have logged a combined 73 games at second base this season to disastrous results, posting a combined -0.6 WAR. Whit Merrifield has been productive, but he can only plug one lineup hole at a time and is currently manning left field, where primary starter Daulton Varsho has managed a mere .648 OPS.
The team looked outside of the organization at the deadline for middle infield depth, acquiring Paul DeJong in a trade from the Cardinals. DeJong is currently filling in at shortstop while Bo Bichette is on the injured list, and will surely move around the diamond when Bichette returns.
That might make Schneider’s path to further playing time more difficult, but that’s a problem for a later date. For now, Schneider is here, and he’s unstoppable, so why worry about what’s to come? In less than 72 hours, Schneider has evolved from just another baseball player making his debut to a near-mythical figure. At that rate, who knows what he can do with even more opportunities.