SF Giants top third base prospect Casey Schmitt was the talk of camp with his strong play on both sides of the ball. His solid performance did not go unnoticed as the Giants named Schmitt the 2023 Barney Nugent Award winner.
SF Giants top 3rd base prospect recognized for strong play in first camp
The Barney Nugent Award typically recognizes a Giants prospect who performs well in his first spring training. Schmitt was the obvious choice but the Giants had a couple of other options as well including Blake Sabol or Kade McClure.
Sabol, in particular, was one of the better hitters in Giants camp. He slashed .394/.474/.651 with three home runs, 10 RBI, and 13 runs in 43 Cactus League at-bats. The Giants originally brought him in as a catcher, but he could begin the year by seeing time in the outfield given the injuries to Austin Slater (hamstring) and Mitch Haniger (oblique).
Nevertheless, Schmitt came into camp with a target on his back as one of the top prospects in the organization. There were expectations and he exceeded those expectations on both sides of the ball.
The 24-year-old registered a .381/.395/.667 line with two home runs, eight RBI, and four runs in 42 at-bats while flashing a good glove at third base and shortstop. Schmitt leads Giants hitters with 16 hits on the spring.
The Barney Nugent Award is a nice recognition for a very strong first impression. However, Giants fans hope that this is the springboard for a successful season for Schmitt. The expectations may be a bit unfair, but the goal is not only that they see him but that he thrives in the majors.
That said, the third base prospect will likely begin the season in the minors. Schmitt is still in camp as a non-roster invitee and will possibly be one of the final cuts of spring training. As good as he has performed, he only has a total of 143 plate appearances above High-A. This includes just 16 plate appearances at Triple-A.
Obviously, fans want to see a lot more of Schmitt and they will at some point this season. However, the hope is that when he does get called up, that he is up for good. Plus, the Giants feel comfortable to start the season with David Villar as the everyday third baseman. Villar has earned it and Schmitt is not far behind.