Bluefield Blue Jays infielder Davis Schneider has been a key player for the club in 2019, a year that might be a bit disappointing in the playoff category but was successful in winning the Mercer Cup, their intra-county competition with the Princeton Rays.
Schneider, a well-spoken, 5-foot-10 20 year old, has had his own ups and downs throughout this season in his third with the Blue Jays organization. A 28th-round draft pick in 2017 by the Jays out of Eastern High School in Voorhees, New Jersey, a suburb of Philadelphia, Schneider decided to forego his commitment to Rutgers after the draft. “I feel like you may only get one chance at this so I felt like I had to take that opportunity. College will always be there for me. My parents have my back 100% so having their support through it really helped me out,” Schneider told me last week in Bluefield.
“You’re not going to get a lot of this experience in college,” Schneider said. “I feel like you can develop here as well as you do in college. That mindset that you’re going to develop in college, you can develop here because they have so many resources to help you develop.”
After being drafted, Schneider reported to the Gulf Coast League and was taken aback when he first saw Anthony Alford in the rehab room. “I thought he was one of my teammates, and I would be playing with him. I was kind of shocked and kind of overwhelmed . . . he’s huge, I’m little.” While Schneider later learned that Alford was with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons at the time, he did find that his friends, Dom Abbadessa, Hagen Danner, Patrick Morris (also known as P.K. Morris) and D.J. Daniels helped him through. “Playing the “G”, it’s kind of a rough life,” he said, but qualified his statement. “Not a rough life but you wake up at 6 [am], practice, eat, then you play a game. But it’s not that hard if you love it. I love to play baseball and this is part of it.”
Most players I’ve spoken to in Bluefield agree that there aren’t a lot of distractions when they get to Bluefield. “It’s a good place to play, I don’t mind it. I’m still playing baseball, as long as I’m playing with that uniform on, it’s fine by me,” Schneider said.
After decent seasons in the GCL in 2017 and in Bluefield in 2018 (with a .764 and .726 OPS respectively), Schneider had some adversity when he got his first taste of big city baseball when he opened the season in Vancouver. Schneider hit just .145/.273/.200 with three doubles in 17 games with the Canadians, earning a demotion back to Bluefield. “I got off to a bad start,” he said, “In Vancouver, I don’t know what was wrong with me. I felt really comfortable, I just couldn’t hit the ball.” The numbers do show some bad luck was probably involved. His strikeout rate was slightly higher than it is currently in Bluefield while his BABIP was well below average at just .211.
“Like I said, the competition is the same here, nothing is different. it’s just the mentality. I feel more comfortable here than I did in Vancouver. I’m not saying it’s easier to hit here but the ball does fly better here than in Vancouver as you can tell by the numbers people have in Vancouver compared to here. I feel like that is way more settling than playing in Vancouver.”
That said, Schneider raved to me about his experience playing in Vancouver. “The fans are one of a kind. You get a base hit when you’re down 10-0 and they scream. They love it,” he said. “The city of Vancouver is beautiful. Probably the best city I’ve ever been to. I live near Philly and Philly doesn’t even come close to Vancouver. It’s awesome, I wish I was still there, I wish I was performing well there but you can’t always have what you want. City of Bluefield is pretty nice, but Vancouver is one of a kind. I wish a lot of people can have that experience too.”
Schneider has been hitting well since arriving in Bluefield for his encore stint. He’s hit .314/.380/.562 in 31 games, hitting 12 doubles and six home runs. I asked him about his approach against a pitcher who was dominating the Bluefield lineup, against whom he had a couple of hits. “We have scouting reports on every pitcher that we play and the scouting report said fastball 72% of the time or something like that. I was sitting fastball every pitch. It was going to come during that at bat. If I take it expecting something else, then I was going to regret it so I was sitting fastball and if he threw it, I was going to hit it. Simple as that.”
With Bluefield pretty much out of a playoff hunt, I asked what his goals were for the rest of the season. “Well, we have two more games against the Princeton Rays and if we win these 2, we win the Mercer Cup so I feel like the whole team is trying to win that for [manager Luis] Hurt[ado] especially because playoff contention isn’t the best right now. If we win that, I feel like we’re going to come out on top in one aspect. Mercer Cup is priority number one for us right now.
The Bluefield Blue Jays would go on to win the Mercer Cup with Schneider hitting a home run in the final, deciding game.
Congrats to the Bluefield Blue Jays and manager Luis Hurtado on the Mercer Cup. There’s a lot more to come from Davis Schneider and so many of these Bluefield Blue Jays.
If you like us here, like us on Facebook!
The 2019 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is available now! Visit the Handbook page for more information!
Now is a great time to subscribe to the Blue Jays from Away Premium Content Section!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2019) and may not be used without permission.