SF Giants top prospects: No. 20 — 3B Casey Schmitt
Highest Level: NCAA (San Diego State)
Acquired: Draft (2020)
Future-Value Grade: 40
Casey Schmitt seemed like a late 3rd-5th round prospect heading into the draft and I admittedly was critical of the pick, but the more people I’ve talked to, the more I’ve come to respect the selection. He ended up signing for a well-below slot signing bonus that enabled the team to sign prep southpaw Kyle Harrison and has the tools to be elite at the hot corner.
Schmitt was a two-way contributor at San Diego State where he served as an everyday third baseman and high-leverage bullpen arm with a low-90s fastball and a nasty splitter. While the Giants PR team shared his information as a 3B/RHP, the team has been pretty clear that they plan to develop him solely at third.
Schmitt has big-time tools. He has soft hands defensively at third base and obviously carries a plus arm. At the plate, Schmitt showed solid plate discipline and has legit plus raw power. In games though, his power has never really shown up consistently.
In 508 career collegiate plate appearances, Schmitt managed just 6 career home runs. In the wood bat Cape Cod League, Schmitt did hit 5 big flies in just 149 trips to the plate, but his overall offensive production wasn’t particularly impressive (.248/.329/.411).
That profile has led some to dream up comps between Schmitt and A’s star Matt Chapman. While both have a similar combination of tools and collegiate underperformance, it’s unfair to compare anyone to such an established star. In a perfect world, if Schmitt reaches his 99th percentile outcome, sure, he could be a player akin to Chapman, but that’s an unfair comp to make at this point.
While the organization seems committed to his play at the hot corner, his pitching background gives him a pretty solid floor. Even if he never fully maximizes his power, Schmitt should be able to find a way to contribute.
It’s not unreasonable to see Schmitt becoming a future 45 reliever and batter, which might allow him to consistently contribute 1.5-2.5 wins above replacement with a creative coaching staff and front office.
For now though, the focus will be on his hit tool. It remains heavily underdeveloped and is the main reason his power is inconsistent and, at times, invisible. Some scouts remain high on Schmitt’s potential to develop at the plate, especially because of his strong approach.
It’s worth noting that Schmitt tore his right meniscus before the start of this season, so his Cape Cod League performance might have been a better show of his current state.
If you take into account some bad batted-ball luck (BABIP of .252) it begins to paint a different picture of his performance. If Schmitt had recorded base hits on just five more balls in play, which would’ve raised his BABIP to .299, his OPS would’ve been north of .800.
It’ll be interesting to see where Schmitt makes his first professional appearances. The Giants might want him to make some severe adjustments that’ll lead them to be a bit underwhelming with his assignment.
Schmitt is a rare combination of floor and ceiling from a collegiate prospect. While at first many were surprised by the selection, the more you look at him, the more you can see what the Giants are dreaming on.