It would be too easy to write off 29-year-old Frank Schwindel as a non-prospect, but there are plenty of examples of late-bloomers who became steady fantasy producers to at least give the A’s power-hitter a chance. Schwindel hit a towering home run in his first game after being called up, moving him into the RotoProspects Top 300 at #300.
Drafted in the 8th round by the Royals way back in 2013 out of St. John’s, Schwindel was crushing in Triple-A this season with a .324/.369/.643 and 16 homers in 44 games. At a closer look, he’s more than just the classic Quad-A slugger as he was striking out just 16.7% and has appeared about MLB ready since 2017 when he posted a .868 OPS in Triple-A for Kansas City. He followed that up by increasing his walk and decreasing his strikeout rates in 2018 with a .842 OPS.
Moving to the Tigers organization in 2019, he again crushed at Triple-A with a .989 OPS before coming back to the Royals and getting his first call to the majors, where he went just 1-for-15.
Schwindel seems like another prospect stalled by the pandemic as he was poised to get a shot in 2020, but had to wait for the call on Tuesday, his 29th birthday.
Just a reminder on some late breakouts: Josh Donaldson was 27 in 2013 when he finished fourth in the AL MVP race; going way back, Earl Averill debuted in the majors in 1929 just before turning 27 and wound up in the Hall of Fame; Jose Bautista had been toiling as a part-time major leaguer until smashing 54 homers at age 29; David Ortiz had been released by the Twins before his breakout at age 27 in 2003; Nelson Cruz broke out with 33 homers at age 28; and Randy Johnson went from a 6-foot-10 curiosity walking everybody in sight to beginning his track to all-time great at 29.
Just this season, Adolis Garcia has broken out with 20 homers and Yermin Mercedes was crushing for a while as 28-year-old rookies. It’s more likely that Schwindel winds up as a role player off the bench for a few years, but just in case he can turn into a threat to hit 30 homers while in his prime for the next few years, we’ve put him on the radar.