The SF Giants made a tough roster move on Sunday, sending down struggling infielder Casey Schmitt to Triple-A. Versatile infielder Mark Mathias was called up in a corresponding roster move according to the team's transaction log.
SF Giants sent down Casey Schmitt, call up versatile utility bat
Schmitt got off to a hot start when he was promoted to the major league roster in May, posting a .799 OPS in 85 plate appearances during the first month of his career. However, he had hit a speed bump as he struggled to the tune of a .375 OPS in 133 plate appearances since then.
In the end, this might be a good developmental opportunity for the third base prospect. After all, his playing time had dwindled recently and at-bats were expected to dry up with the return of Thairo Estrada.
Development is never linear, but the hope is that Schmitt can work on his plate discipline with Sacramento, which should paid dividends for his career down the road. In the field, the 24-year-old prospect was as advertised as he flashed a solid glove and arm at the hot corner while not looking like a beginner at shortstop and second base as well.
Mark Mathias will take his place on the active roster. The Giants acquired him along with AJ Pollock in a trade with the Seattle Mariners earlier this week. The 29-year-old has traveled quite a bit over the past year as he has appeared with the Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Mariners organizations.
The right-handed bat has played in parts of three major league seasons and has slashed a respectable .249/.323/.402 line (1040 OPS+) with six home runs, 28 RBI, and 20 runs in 189 career plate appearances. This includes a 10.1 percent walk rate against a 25.4 percent strikeout rate, so Mathias does well to not expand the strike zone.
On defense, the utility bat offers quite a bit of versatility. Second base has been his primary position in the majors, but he has pro experience at just about every position except for catcher. He does not have a ton of experience at shortstop, but he could serve as a platoon complement to Brandon Crawford at shortstop.
Crawford has missed some time this year as he has dealt with a nagging knee ailment and Giants manager Gabe Kapler could use games against left-handed pitching to give him an extra day off. So, this could be a better role for someone like Mathias rather than using Schmitt in a similar role where playing time is sporadic.