What are the earliest call-ups in MLB history?

Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Angels made MLB history with their decision to call up 1B Nolan Schanuel. 

The Los Angeles Angels called up first baseman Nolan Schanuel from the Rocket City Trash Pandas, their Double-A affiliate, on Friday. This news made headlines — and no, not because the Angels’ Double-A affiliate is called the Rocket City Trash Pandas.

Schanuel is a MiLB rookie, selected with the No. 11 pick in the MLB Draft less than six weeks ago. The 21-year-old out of Florida Atlantic has 21 minor league games on his resumé.

Now, he will attempt to help salvage the Angels’ season.

Los Angeles Angels shock MLB with Nolan Schanuel call-up

It’s not hard to imagine why the Angels would make such a desperate move. Los Angeles is 60-62 on the season, 12.5 games behind first-place Texas in the NL West and seven games behind Toronto in the American League wild card race. With Shohei Ohtani’s future in limbo, it’s all hands on deck to prove the Angels can, in fact, win big games.

Los Angeles will hope Schanuel’s talent at the plate translates to immediate professional production. He hit .447/.615/.868 with 19 home runs, 71 walks and only 14 strikeouts in 289 plate appearances at FAU. In 73 minor league at-bats, he averaged .370/.510/.493 with a home run, 15 RBIs, and 21 walks.

The Angels have a history of aggressive call-ups (2022 first-round pick Zach Neto was called up in mid-April after 201 minor league plate appearances, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan) but this is a whole new level of commitment to their youth.

Schanuel was considered the most MLB-ready hitter in the 2023 draft, but that generally means a player might be ready within a couple of years. Not six weeks. Schanuel is one of the quickest call-ups in MLB history. In fact, it has been decades since a player spent less time in the minors before their first big league call-up.

What are the earliest call-ups in MLB history?

Ariel Prieto, a Cuban right-handed pitcher, joined the Oakland Athletics within a month of being drafted in 1995. He was 25 years old. To find a more comparable case to Schanuel, you have to reach all the way back to 1979, when the Rangers called up southpaw Jerry Don Gleaton within six weeks of the draft, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The last position players called up as quickly as Schanuel were Atlanta Braves third baseman Bob Horner (10 days) and Toronto Blue Jays catcher Brian Milner (17 days) in 1978.

ESPN also offers up a more recent comparable call-up: lefty ace Chris Sale, who joined the White Sox in 2010 less than two months after being drafted.

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