Hefty comp laid on SF Giants prospect amid MiLB Gold Glove honor
The 2022 season was a rough one defensively for the SF Giants. According to Fangraphs' team fielding advanced metrics, the big-league Orange and Black was the worst-fielding team in the Major Leagues - and the 31st-worst team defense going back to 2002 (some 600-plus full seasons, not counting the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign).
The poor defense is a big reason why the Giants aren't afraid to go after strong defenders in free agency this off-season who struggled at the plate, such as Cody Bellinger.
Defensive help might not be far off, though. On Tuesday, Minor League Baseball announced nine players as recipients of the Rawlings Gold Glove award, and two Giants prospects were on the list.
The MiLB Gold Glove award honors one player at each position throughout the entire affiliated minors, meaning each player is viewed as being the best defender at their position in North America outside of MLB. The Giants were the only organization to place two players on the list.
Both players from the Giants were drafted by the team in 2020 out of the college ranks: catcher Patrick Bailey, who played with High-A Eugene in 2022, and third baseman Casey Schmitt, who saw action at three levels beginning with Eugene and extending to Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento.
Schmitt compared to Platinum Glove winner
After the Gold Glove announcement was made, more high praise came out for Schmitt: Giants beat writer Alex Pavlovic, of NBC Sports Bay Area, tweeted that a scout recently said Schmitt was the "best defensive 3B prospect he's seen since Nolan Arenado."
Arenado, who came up with the Colorado Rockies and now plays for the St. Louis Cardinals, is lauded as the best defender at the hot corner in the game today. He has won the MLB version of the Gold Glove in every one of the 10 seasons he has played in the majors, and he has also taken home the Platinum Glove as the best defender regardless of position in the National League for the past six years.
The Giants have had solid defense at third for the past five years with Evan Longoria, who won three Gold Gloves before coming to San Francisco. Rookie David Villar also performed decently in his limited time at the top level in 2022. But as soon as sometime next season, fans at Oracle Park could see spectacular plays and lock-down defense at third with Schmitt taking over.