The first month of the 2021 minor league season has come to a close, and boy it was an eventful one with plenty of exciting performances and otherwise. As expected, the quality of pitching has drastically improved after the long layoff, resulting in far more SF Giants pitching prospects that are off to a hot start while more hitters appear to be a step behind. Here are some of the prospects that have boosted their stock as a result of their strong start and vice versa.
SF Giants Prospects Early MiLB Season Stock Down Part 1
Before the start of the season, I was really excited to see what Casey Schmitt could do as a full-time position player. After a month of play, however, I am disappointed with the lack of impact that he has offensively for the San Jose Giants. Even though Schmitt has played at college, Schmitt is hitting just .137/.210/.274 at Low-A.
Among qualified hitters in the Giants farm system (at least 3.1 plate appearances per game), Schmitt’s batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, and wRC+ are the worst while his slugging is second worst. In my opinion, there is one driving force behind his putrid offensive production. According to his scouting report in Baseball America, Schmitt “worked with Giants coaches to incentivize flyballs in the instructional league”. That has indeed reflected in his batted ball data, where his flyball rate is the highest among qualified Giants hitters while his line drive rate is the lowest at 7.3%.
The extremely low line drive rate is a sign that his bat path could have become too uphill and as a result, he’s not squaring up the ball consistently as he used to back in college. Batted-ball data tends to normalize quickly and rarely changes as the season goes on, so we might not expect a drastic shift in Schmitt’s numbers as the season progresses. However, swing adjustments could obviously change that. Sometimes players take some time before locking into a new path. Others are forced to return to old habits. We’ll see how that plays out for Schmitt.