2019, 2021 and 2022 Vancouver Canadians utility man Davis Schneider digs into the batter’s box on this edition of C’s Chat.
The Voorhees, New Jersey native decided to turn professional when he was taken in the 28th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. He turned down a commitment to Rutgers to make the jump to pro ball from Eastern High School in Voorhees Township.
Baseball America expected the righthanded-hitting Schneider to be taken much earlier in the draft as the publication rated him as the 463rd best prospect in its Top 500.
“Schneider raised eyebrows with an impressive showing at the 2016 WWBA World Championships, where he did damage with his righthanded bat. His pure hitting ability is by far his strongest tool; he shows the ability to hit line drives to the gaps and covers the strike zone well.”
At the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Florida in 2016, Schneider put himself on the radar by helping his summer squad, the Dirtbags, win the tile and received most valuable hitter honours with two home runs.
After an offseason of training to lose weight, Schneider was named a Rawlings Perfect Game’s Northeast Region All-High School Senior first team All-Star prior to the 2017 season. He proved worthy of the selection by hitting .444 with 16 doubles, setting a single season record for Eastern High School. He also established the Vikings mark for most career hits with 138.
Schneider started his tenure in the Toronto organization with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays in 2017. He doubled in just his second at-bat against the GCL Yankees West June 28. His first home run was a two-run shot to give the Jays a 2-1 win over the GCL Pirates July 3 and had a three-run dinger against the GCL Braves July 21. He batted .238 with 12 doubles, four homers and 23 runs batted in and posted an on-base percentage of .371.
The 2018 season saw Schneider make the jump to Bluefield. One of the highlights there was was going 2-for-4 with a three-run home run and a triple with four RBI against Burlington July 3. He also clubbed a two-run shot that turned out to be the difference in a win over Princeton July 12. That was among three home runs and 12 extra-base hits as Schneider hit .233 with a .350 OBP.
The next stop was Vancouver but Schneider struggled in his first season north of the border in 2019. He began the season with a 0-for-18 skid and his second base hit resulted in an out as the ball hit Trevor Schwecke during a game against Spokane June 30. His batting average was as low as .034 at one point but that hit at the end of June was the start of a five-game hitting streak. Though he batted just .145 with the C’s, Schneider continued to show a good eye at the plate with a .273 OBP, thanks to a four-walk game in Everett June 26.
Schneider was sent back to Bluefield July 14 and found his mojo again by reeling off a seven-game hitting streak, including five straight with two-knocks. He slashed .313/.380/.550 with 13 doubles, six homers and 24 RBI.
After a two-game trial with Dunedin, Schneider was back in a C’s uniform but this time in Hillsboro. He endured another tough beginning but homered in back-to-back games against in Hillsboro on May 22 and against Everett on May 26. Things got much better for Schneider when he batted .359 in July. He would finish with nine home runs and slug a career-best .476.
The 2022 season saw the 23 year-old Schneider provide the C’s with a series-clinching win during Opening Weekend in Spokane when he homered to left to snap a 7-7 tie April 10. He also had a walk-off double in the 10th against Tri-City at The Nat on May 22.
Those were the highlights of an otherwise tough two months of the season for Schneider but he found his groove in June. He had a homer and two doubles against Spokane June 4 and homered with three doubles in Tri-City on June 7. That was the start of an eight-game hitting streak that culminated into Northwest League Player of the Week honours on June 6-12 where he batted .478. After hitting .329 with a 1.084 on-base plus slugging percentage over 21 games in June, Schneider got the call to go to Double-A New Hampshire on June 25. He collected his first hit as a Fisher Cat with a double in Portland on June 30.
C’s Plus Baseball spoke with Schneider days before his promotion to New Hampshire FC. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
C’s Plus Baseball – You got drafted by the Blue Jays out of high school in New Jersey. Take us through your draft experience.
Davis Schneider – I wasn’t a big draft prospect as some people on this team might have been but I always wanted to play pro baseball. And I feel like the college would’ve been a good experience for me but I feel like you gotta take some opportunities while they’re there and you never know when the opportunity’s going to rise again. So my parents and me just made the decision just to roll with it and see what happens and if you come up short , then at least you say you tried. I was drafted in the 28th round by the Jays. They’re the only team that was looking at me so I got that chance and here I am now, my sixth year in the org and never looked back.
CPB – Who was your signing scout?
DS – Mike Alberts. He’s not with us anymore currently but a good guy. Trusted him, liked him a lot. Sad to see him go, but I still keep in touch with him here and there.
CPB – How did you follow the draft? Were you watching on the computer?
DS – I was actually in an All-Star high school game at the time. And they said, ‘Keep your phone next to you.’ I told them I was playing and I thought I was gonna go on like teens or something. I didn’t know when I was gonna go and then after the game, I was driving home with my dad. I was watching Twitter. I saw all my friends, a couple of my buddies that went on Twitter and I saw my name pop up and I thought it was a mistake because I was expecting the call beforehand. And then I got a call from Mike about a minute later and said ‘Congrats!’ It happened so fast and it was a late round so they don’t really have a time to like call you before. But yeah, riding in the car with my dad, he hugged me and started crying a little bit.
CPB – So you make your way down to Dunedin. Talk about the beginning of your professional career and what it was like getting used for the grind of pro ball
DS – When people say the GCL sucked, it wasn’t that bad for me. I mean, yeah, you play in the hot sun every day, but I didn’t mind it. You had Sundays off, you get to play baseball every day. Just the practices beforehand, waking up at 6:30 in the morning before every game, that was kind of sucky but other than that, it was still fun. You still get to play baseball and you’re just hanging out with your buddies most of the time anyway.
CPB – You eventually get to Vancouver in 2019 and I know you were caught up at a bad hitting slump. I think one hit you got, you hit a base runner (with the ball, resulting in a hit but the runner was out). That was kind of the way things were going for you but you were able to regain your form in Bluefield. Talk about your 2019 season with Vancouver and Bluefield.
DS – In the beginning. Yeah, I was not good. I mean, I couldn’t really see the ball. My timing was off and they said, ‘Go back down to Bluefield, get your confidence back.’ I think a change of scenery really helped me. Going to a different spot. Kind of not starting things over but you get a fresh start a little bit. So that kind of helped me just regain my confidence, find a new stroke, see the ball better. It kind of helped me going through 2020. There was no season but it kind of helped me just like kind of regain my confidence for the year and not say 2019 was a complete waste. It kind of helped the whole year rather than let the first half kind (of the season) wash up, you know.
CPB – in 2020, going through COVID. How did you manage to stay motivated and try and keep going through all that?
DS – Being at home. There’s not (a lot of) stuff you can do when it comes to baseball in New Jersey. You can hit in a field and everything but it was tough staying motivated because you didn’t know when you were going to go back. So you kind of had to stay in shape.I kept throwing, I kept hitting because they said, ‘See you in two weeks’ when they sent us home. And so I kind of had that mindset, I kind of kept hitting and then it kind of got to a point where like, ‘Alright, we’re not gonna go back whatsoever.’ So I took time off there, still kept working out and everything but baseball wise, I wasn’t really doing too much. And then when they said spring training was happening in 2021, then I started revving things up again like you usually do.
CPB – You’re back in a Canadians uniform (in 2021) but unfortunately only in Hillsboro. What was that like playing an entire season in Hillsboro? It looked like maybe you guys might come back (to Vancouver) at some point, but it didn’t work out that way.
DS – Yeah. At first it was kind of weird, you know, hearing rumours that we might go back. I mean, playing here in 2019 was awesome, it was a blast. Playing in front of Hillsboro fans are cool but there’s nothing like playing at the Nat. We played 80 games in Hillsboro so we didn’t get to travel too much which was great for us. We kind of had like a home stand for a month, which wasn’t that bad but it was kind of weird just being at a different park, being the home team when we’re playing Hillsboro, you know, here and there. It was just a weird experience for everyone. Even the coaches had to deal with stuff. It wasn’t easy on anyone whatsoever. So you just kind of had to make do with what you got.
CPB – The 2021 season was pretty good. I know you didn’t have all the playing opportunities in the world but when you did get on the field, you were able to pop a few home runs. How did you feel your season went overall?
DS – It kind of started out like this year. I mean I started off really slow. Strikeout after strikeout, nothing was working for me. And then sometimes baseball just works like that. You find a spark, you get a base hit or something and things just go off from there. It kind of what happened this year. You, you get a base hit, you get a homer and the next thing you know, you’re on a hit streak and everything like that. And so last year kind of started off really slow. And then I started getting a groove a little bit, even though I didn’t play every day. I still had that confidence where like, ‘Okay, if I’m gonna be in the lineup, I’m gonna do well.’ And then I went on from there, you know.. You just got to kind of get that confidence back once, whenever you’re in a slump.
CPB – This season, opening weekend in Spokane, you had a huge hit to help the team win that opening series in Spokane with that that home run. That was a back and forth game but your swing was the one that decided it. What do you remember about that game and that home run?
DS – I remember there was snow and it was freezing out but yeah, it was a back and forth game. I think the score was like 9-8 (8-7) or something like that, a high-scoring game. I mean, this team never really quits. Even though we’re down by like five runs or so, we still always have a chance to win. Brent (C’s manager Brent Lavallee) always tells us that. And so you just got to keep swinging away. A 2-0 fastballl, put a good swing on it, line drive over left and it ended up winning the game which was huge.
CPB – Does it seem like Spokane is a good hitters part because down right field, it’s 296 feet?
DS – I like playing at Spokane. Some people don’t because of the mountains in the back and you can’t really see but I feel like if you put the ball in the air, good things will happen there. Even if you hit a pop up to right, it’s going to be gone, you know, half the time. Same with Everett. That field is really small. I like playing out in that field. I know some guys don’t but sometimes just deal with what you have to deal with when it comes to playing at a field you don’t like.
CPB – You had a tough start to the year but certainly one of the highlights was that walk off hit to win a game here. What was that like getting to experience a walk off. I don’t know if you’ve had a lot of walk off hits in your career, but how do you rank that moment?
DS – That was definitely my top three. I mean I had a couple, but not since I was a kid, but that was really awesome. Especially at home with these fans, it was pretty cool. And then my teammates just coming out and pulling on my jersey and punching me, hugging me, all that stuff. So it was actually pretty cool because I know P.K. (P.K Morris) hit that homer. Ttwo series before, Brit (Zach Britton) hit a walk off homer so it was kind of cool to have that chance for myself.
CPB – In the month of June, you’ve been on fire. What’s turned it around for you? Any adjustments that you’ve made?
DS – Yeah. I kind of made a swing change. I have a bigger leg kick now. Trying to work on my timing a little bit. Just trying to be more aggressive at the plate. Early in the season, I was a lot more passive when it came to hitting. I was trying to take too many pitches. Yeah. I had a lot of walks but I also had a lot of Ks when it came to that. So I just wanted to get more aggressive, put the ball in play, good things happen. Try not to strike out as much as I did earlier and something just clicked. I mean, I’m one for my last 10 now so that’s baseball, you know, but if you put the ball on play, good things will happen. I kind of came to the realization you don’t always have to have that perfect pitch. Just try to be a little bit more aggressive when it comes to anything in the zone.
CPB – Northwest League Player of the Week. How did you find out about it?
DS – My Mom called me actually. She and my Dad follow me and the team pretty hard. So my Mom called me and said, ‘You won Player of the Week.’ I’m not going to say I figured I was gonna win but I think I had a pretty good chance of winning. My Mom called me say to congrats and then I found out on Twitter from Vancouver and Instagram and everything.
CPB – How did that feel to win the Player of the Week realizing that your efforts were recognized? That must have been a really, really nice bonus for you and kind of a validation that what you’re doing is working.
DS – Yeah, it was great. I mean, I know in the Tri-City series we didn’t really win that much. I’d rather weep the series and not win Player of the Week because, you know, winning cures everything. I wish I could win more, you know, but that’s just baseball. You got to play better a little bit but it was cool because it was my first one, I think, in my career, I know (Addison Barger) has won a bunch because he hits really well. P.K (Morris) has won one for this year but it was cool was just to be part of that.
CPB – Defensively you’ve played infield, you played outfield. That great leaping catch (against Eugene) Friday, . You’re dealing with that short fence. I mean, there’s a lot of things you go to consider when you’re playing in left field, especially when it’s kind of a short porch (there).
DS – Yeah. I’m not that very tall so the short fence kind of helps me out a little bit. Yeah. I knew Santos had a lot of power so I kind of played back a little bit. He also hit a home run earlier in the series. Eugene, they can hit anything anywhere. And so you kind of have to tip your cap and play back a little bit. So it was kind of one of those where I had the opportunity. It wasn’t too high over the fence so as much hops as I have, I kind of made it and I mean, it was a hard catch but I kind of saw it the whole way. It wasn’t like it shocked me or anything because it kind of stayed up there a little bit. I just made a good play on it. Got a good read.
CPB – How do you find a playing in the outfield (at Nat Bailey Stadium) compared to say Spokane or anywhere else you played?
DS – Yeah, it’s my first year kind of playing outfield full-time. I mean, I kind of gotten used to it a little bit. Some balls you kind of have a difficult time reading just beacuse playing at night, sometimes it’s just weird for me just playing under the lights when it comes to fly balls. But other than that, I mean this field (at the Nat) in left, the field’s pretty short so I don’t have that much ground to cover out there besides center and right. But it feels good playing out there. I feel confident to where I’m going to get to a lot of balls that I wouldn’t be able to last year so that feels good. Playing at Spokane in the outfield, it’s just different, you know, you gotta read the balls off the fence a little bit more, (it’s a) high fence. This one’s a short fence so you kind have to make different reads on what balls you can go to off the wall and whatnot. So you kind have to play to what park you’re at.
CPB – Everett. Would you say maybe that’s the most challenging?
DS – Definitely yeah. In left field, it’s kind of like normal because (it’s a) big fence, a normal size field in left. But playing right or center, there will probably be a hassle just to like get used to because a single in right-center is a double most of the time. If you have a pop-up, it’s gone. it’s just a weird field to where you kind of have to get used to it, play the hops off the wall and get a lot of good reads and during BP.
CPB – At second base, you made an outstanding play (against Eugene Friday). A diving catch to help out Ricky Tiedemann who kind of proved a little bit he was human but he still puts up four zeros on the board. Talk about that play. I mean that was a huge play for you guys.
DS – Whenever Ricky pitches. I always expect him to get a strikeout every single time he’s up. So whenever he walks a guy or gets a hit, I’m like, ‘He stinks, you know?’ But it’s just the way of how good he is. And he’s only 19 and he could be pitching the big leagues right now. I mean he threw four shutout innings and allowed three hits. I mean, he still shut down this lineup that was really, really good. So hats off to him for that. But yeah, a bloop off the end of the bat of (Eugene’s Casey) Schmitt. It was kind of like the play out in left where it was in slow motion a little bit. I saw it the whole way, decided to dive for it. Maybe I could have stayed on my feet a little bit but I made a good play on it. And Ricky just always knows how to shut a team down.
CPB – Final question, your walk-up music. It was very popular in 2019. I saw the bullpen really getting into it. How did you choose that song?
DS – Dom Abbadessa, who played here in 2019. He introduced the song to me and I always thought it was awesome. So in 2019, Phil Clarke had it for his walkout. Okay. And I think he won like song of the year for it for the team and it always just stuck with me. I thought it was a cool song to walk up to the saxophone. Just a good, good beat to it and I knew the fans would probably get a kick out of it. So I said, ‘Why not?’ And it’s just a kind of like an inside joke with me and a couple guys that are in Double-A right now so I liked the song. I think it was a good choice.
- Uniform Numbers – Wore number 3, 31 and 1 with the Canadians
- Walk-Up Music – “Waikiki” by Deep Chills
- Twitter – @DSchneid7
- Instagram – @dschneid7
- Versatility – Has played every position except catcher and center field in his professional career.
- Defense – Committed just two errors in 99 chances with the C’s before being called up to New Hampshire
- Clutch Hitter/Tone Setter – Batted .306 with runners in scoring position and hit .357 in the first inning
Thanks a million to Davis Schneider and C’s broadcaster Tyler Zickel for making this chat happen.