Why isn't Davis Schneider rookie eligible this year?

Davis Schneider created waves across baseball last year but won't be taking home a Rookie of the Year award in his young career.
Toronto Blue Jays v Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays v Washington Nationals / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Davis Schneider burst onto the MLB scene faster and with more success than most players, but certain aspects of the league's determinations of rookie eligibility prohibit the young slugger from having a chance at being voted Rookie of the Year in 2024. Schneider might not necessarily be at the top of the list for potential ROTY candidates thus far this season but it's worth looking into the reason why he's not even eligible for a ballot.

Major League Baseball's definition of a rookie demands that the player must not exceed 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the majors as a base requirement. As for this line of inquiry, Schneider clears it handily with 116 at-bats in his 2023 season which would allow him to remain rookie-eligible for 2024. However, there is an additional stipulation in the league's definition of a rookie: the player must hold an active spot on a Major League roster for less than 45 total days to maintain rookie eligibility. According to MLB.com's record of Davis' transaction history, his contract was purchased by the Blue Jays on August 4 and maintained until the end of the 2023 season, lasting for sizeably longer than 45 days and concluding his rookie eligibility for any future seasons.

Schneider is affected by these rules somewhat differently than many others who experience a late-season call-up as their first taste of MLB action. Davis' teammate on the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, outfielder Nathan Lukes, was recalled to the MLB level on five separate occasions in 2023, totaling well over 45 days on the active roster despite only notching 26 at-bats in the majors that season. Schneider was called up as a replacement for a struggling Ernie Clement in the back half of the 2023 season, a move that would often involve the call-up seeing limited playing time and ensue in a quick stint in the majors. Schneider took the roster spot by force and would never let it go.

Besides being the owner of one of the nicest moustaches in all of baseball, Schneider also owns a rookie season with an OPS above 1.000 and was on pace for 37 home runs over a full 162-game campaign. This would have put him in elite company among the greatest rookie seasons of all time but unfortunately, he won't have the opportunity to compete with them as an official rookie. Despite these limitations, Schneider has continued 2024 right where he left off 2023 and is wowing fans across the league, not just in Toronto.

Yes, it's unfortunate that Schneider won't win a Rookie of the Year Award but it's nonetheless a testament of his unorthodox path to the majors. He had a rookie season where he broke age-old records for players beginning their careers and was even compared to Babe Ruth in his first week on the job. He's also a member of a small club of MLB players to hit a home run in their first career at-bat, which is another accomplishment that cannot be measured by a measly award. In many ways, this is just indicative of what Schneider means to the Blue Jays and baseball as a whole: a paradox. A rookie with the moustache of a 40-year-old, a perennial minor leaguer destroying MLB pitching, a rookie that didn't truly have a rookie season. He continues to be one of the brightest spots on this Blue Jays roster and you can't help but smile at the story that's led to his emergence as a star in the MLB.