Who’s Your New Favorite Player, and Why is it Casey Schmitt?
WHO’S YOUR NEW FAVORITE PLAYER AND WHY IS IT CASEY SCHMITT? – Those are both great questions and I’ll be happy to discuss them.
The struggling Giants got a much needed shot of life when they called up their 4th ranked prospect, Casey Schmitt, earlier this week. The San Diego State product was San Francisco’s second round pick in the 2020 draft and has been widely regarded the best defensive third baseman in the minor leagues. This is important to note, because the Giants are not playing him at third with the big club. They’ve decided to play him at the infinitely more difficult position of shortstop… in the big leagues… while learning how to hit show pitching.
Let’s Talk Utility
It’s not nearly as uncommon for players to have a fair amount of position versatility as it was in previous eras of baseball, but many of those utility types are natural shortstops. They’re often glove-first players who might contribute some offensively, or they’re bat-first athletes who don’t have a true home on the field. Both versions of the classic utility man tend to have difficulties staying consistent at the plate for a handful of identifiable reasons.
It’s extremely hard to maintain a consistent swing and approach to begin with, now couple that with having to take extra pre-game reps at a second, third, or fourth position in as many games. They have to study both the opposing pitchers and their own (depending on the positions they’re juggling), and they have to have a good understanding of their teammates defensive capabilities and habits. The thought alone is giving me a nosebleed and sending phantom pains through my back.
Big Shoes to Fill
Apologies for the brief tangent, but all of that information needs to be considered as we dive back into the conversation about Casey Schmitt getting his first shot at the Major Leagues AS A SHORTSTOP!!! Oh yeah, the icing on the cake, he gets to try to fill the shoes of one of the top all around shortstops of the last decade, Brandon Crawford. Talk about getting thrown to the wolves.
Schmitt has absolutely looked the part in the early going. His actions on the field are smooth and controlled. The feet are rhythmic, the glove is quiet, and the arm is more akin to a ballista than anything of the human anatomy. Think Shawon Dunston with the build of a Line Backer. The most reassuring part of his game is the maturity. After every defensive inning, Schmitt goes directly over to Crawford to discuss the mechanics and intricacies of the previous plays. Watching Schmitt navigate Short has been a treat.
Poise and Power at the Plate
The most impressive aspect of Schmitt’s hot start has been his work at the dish. It’s not uncommon for first time call-ups to look good with the bat as opposing teams usually don’t yet have enough information to exploit weaknesses. After watching pitchers attack Schmitt with a variety of sequences, it looks like it’ll be a while before teams adjust to him, at which point it’ll be on him to adjust back. This looks like a vary possible reality ‘cause the kid has a solid plan in the box and swing to back it up. He uses the middle of the field extremely well and has more than enough bat speed to demolish mistakes.
Casey Schmitt's first MLB hit is a homer! pic.twitter.com/S302I63w4v
— MLB (@MLB) May 10, 2023
Just ask the fan who collected this souvenir that cleared the center field wall of Oracle Park.
How Does He Project?
Every season a handful of young players get the type of “first X-number of games stat-carving” that puts them on lists with Hall of Famers. Sometimes those players really pan out and other times that ends up being their great moment in the sun. It’s difficult to put much stock in that, but when you’re doing things that get you on lists with legends the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Willy McCovey, one should at least take notice. It’s nearly impossible to predict how a young player’s career will unfold, but it’s always fun to try.
In the case of Casey Schmitt, it’s safe to say that he will have a long, fruitful adventure through the big leagues. The athleticism is real, the mental game appears strong, and the opportunities are aplenty with this iteration of the San Francisco Giants.
The odds are pretty good on Casey Schmitt for NL Rookie Of The Year right now at +7500. Maybe slice off a little cheddar on the long shot and think about your boy when you cash in that party ticket.Read more of our MLB coverage here