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Golden Boy: Casey Schmitt Shines in Giants Farm System

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Casey Schmitt was a very exciting draft pick by the San Francisco Giants in the 2020 MLB draft. Going 49th overall, Schmitt was compared to the best two-way player for the Angels, Jared Walsh, for his power at the plate and production on the mound. Schmitt was a closer for his San Diego State University team, featuring a lively fastball and above-average splitter. Giants fans became excited about Schmitt, especially after seeing the unique position listing of 3B/RHP. Unfortunately, the pitching part of his game has taken a step back. However, this step back is for a good reason, as Schmitt has broken out at the plate following a stellar 2022 season in the minors. Last season, Schmitt played in A+, AA, and AAA after continually proving his ability to hit at each of those levels of competition. By showing his ability to excel at these levels, MLB has Schmitt as the number six ranked prospect in the Giant's system. With the departure of Evan Longoria in the 2022 off-season, Schmitt’s hasty rise through the minors could continue and land him a spot on the major-league roster at some point in the 2023 regular season.

The most impressive part of Schmitt’s tool kit is his incredible defense at the hot corner. He has even drawn comparisons to the game’s best defensive third baseman, Nolan Arenado. MLB Pipeline gave Schmitt a rating of 60 for his arm and 65 for his fielding. If you look up “Casey Schmitt 2022 minor league highlights” on YouTube, you will see some outstanding defensive displays by the 23-year-old prospect. Casey even took home his first of many Gold Glove Awards last year, as he was regarded as the best of the best at his position. Minor League Baseball (MiLB) only gives out one Gold Glove Award to each position, no matter what league the player is in, making this award even more impressive for Schmitt. He put up a .941 fielding percentage while playing at three levels of the game. Being able to consistently show talent in many stadiums across differing levels of baseball is just about all one can ask of a prospect. Schmitt’s defense has done just that, and his skills with the glove will certainly continue to shine.

Surprisingly, Schmitt was never projected to have prevalent power as a hitter. He was drafted for his defense and the possibility of his pitching, but scouts only hoped that his hitting kit would develop into that of a typical power-hitting third baseman. Schmitt proved people wrong with his offensive statistics from his 2022 MiLB season. While this data, again, is taken from three different levels of baseball in the minors, it almost becomes more impressive to know that this prospect has what it takes to be a stand-out player at multiple levels of the game. With that being said, his AAA performance was just over four games with 15 at-bats. Still, that was enough time for Schmitt to hit his first AAA home run and rack up 3 RBIs with 5 hits. The real sample size comes from his time in A+ and AA ball. In 93 games with A+ Eugene, Schmitt slashed .273/.363/.474. He averaged almost a hit per game with 91 hits, and his power got to display itself through his 17 home runs and 14 doubles. This type of production in 333 at-bats was more than enough for Schmitt to get the call-up to the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels. Schmitt needed just 29 games in AA to prove to the Giants’ front office that he was ready for the next level. In 120 at-bats with Richmond, Schmitt slashed .342/.378/.517 with fewer home runs (3) but tacked on 10 doubles and 16 RBIs. Schmitt collected 41 hits in 29 games, good for an average of 1.4 hits per game. His entire 2022 minor-league journey saw him slash .293/.365/.489 with 21 home runs and 78 RBIs in 126 games. That type of production in just 126 games is absurd for someone who had to play in a different stadium every couple of months. Schmitt is proving that he can adapt to the environment around him and still show his baseball abilities at a high level.

The downsides to Schmitt’s game are his strikeout and walk numbers. Since his debut in 2021 in A ball, Schmitt has always struck out more than he has walked. In the entirety of his 2022 season, he struck out 120 times while only walking 48 times. The concerning part is what happened to these numbers when he made the transition from A+ to AA ball. His walk-to-strikeout ratio (BB/K) was 0.49 with his A+ team. This number took a big hit when he joined his AA squad, falling to 0.21, although it is worth mentioning that his AA sample size is significantly smaller than his A+ sample. His walk percentage also took a sizable dip, going from 11.0% to just 4.7%. These issues could be prevalent as Schmitt climbs his way through AAA with the MLB in his sights. Pitching competition only gets better, so improving plate discipline while maintaining his power stroke should be the focus for Schmitt’s 2023 season.

With Brandon Crawford on his way out of the Giant’s organization, the club is in desperate need of their next defensive superstar. The Giants are extra hungry for an elite defender considering their horrible defensive season in 2022. If their next defensive wizard can also put up respectable power numbers, that would indeed be what the club and its fanbase need. Casey Schmitt’s performance last season was impressive based on the raw numbers, especially considering the scenery and talent differences he encountered. This previously defense-first athlete is developing into one of baseball’s most respected, well-rounded third-base prospects. His current path has him making a genuine impact on the major-league roster sometime soon, and he certainly has more Gold Gloves in his future. Be on the lookout for this player’s name on the Top 100 Prospects list being released this month.

SOURCES:

https://www.fangraphs.com/players/casey-schmitt/sa3014484/stats?position=3B

https://www.milb.com/player/casey-schmitt-669477

https://www.milb.com/news/squirrels-schmitt-named-rawlings-gold-glove-award-winner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cySJDBlb74Q

https://www.mlb.com/prospects/giants/casey-schmitt-669477


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