SF Giants infield prospect Casey Schmitt flashed an impressive glove at the hot corner during spring training. However, will he be playing a different position when he eventually gets called up?
Are the SF Giants planning something with infield prospect Casey Schmitt?
It is hard to ignore Schmitt's defensive positioning at this point. It is likely not just a coincidence that he has been seeing more time at shortstop and second base recently. Outside of Thairo Estrada's production, the Giants have struggled at shortstop and second base.
Brandon Crawford is off to a rough start both at the plate and in the field. He is currently on the injured list, so Estrada has shifted to shortstop. That has left second base exposed as David Villar and Brett Wisely have struggled in the early going. Villar has a .567 OPS through 95 plate appearances, whereas Wisely has just one hit in 24 at-bats.
The Giants appear to be planning for two alternatives with Schmitt. The first alternative is that Estrada could begin to see more time at shortstop if Crawford's struggles continue when he returns from the injured list. The second alternative is that the Giants want to get more production out of the second base position. Those two are related.
So, this is where Schmitt could come into player. The 24-year-old prospect is a two-time Gold Glove winner at third base in the minors. That is his best position as he flashes a premium arm and good range at the hot corner.
Despite this, the Giants have been trying to expand his skillset. He saw time at shortstop in High-A last year, but that was due to an injury to fellow prospect Marco Luciano. He did not look like a beginner out there, but that was out of need.
This year, the San Diego State University product has spent more time at shortstop than third base. Within the last week, he has begun seeing time at second base. It is a position he should be able to handle with ease, but one that probably does not fully use the strength of his arm.
At the plate, Schmitt is off to a mixed start in his first full season in Triple-A. He is slashing .310/.341/.413 (79 wRC+) with one home run, 21 RBI, and 16 runs in 135 plate appearances. This includes a 5.2 percent walk rate against a 19.3 percent strikeout rate.
The low strikeout rate is a positive sign, but his lack of power is something to monitor. In addition to this, Schmitt has posted a rather high 51.5 percent groundball rate, so he is not getting a ton of lift when he does make contact.
His offensive production thus far could be just a product of his adjustment to a new league. The Giants must like what they see as they appear to be preparing him for a position, whether that be at shortstop or second base, where the team is struggling. This is likely an intentional assignment on the Giants' part.