While Casey Schmitt looked like a great opening day roster candidate in spring training, the details might have been more complex. Even when a guy is great in spring training, there can be times when he has to continue his development. It could be as simple as the lack of a starting spot on the roster, or as complex as the expectation of a decline in performance over a more extended period. Whatever the reason, Schmitt was sent to Triple-A to start 2023. Now, he’s been called up and is on a roll.
Casey Schmitt Is Succeding in the Majors
He Homered on Back-to-Back Days
It made the headlines when Schmitt hit his first major league home run. But it was still more incredible when he went 4-for-4 with a home run and a double the day after. So far, he is no disappointment. While his performance will normalize over time, he still has a good chance of being a star hitter.
It wasn’t quite the start that Yermin Mercedes had in his 2021 season with the Chicago White Sox, going 8 for 8 in his first eight plate appearances. But it was certainly an exceptional one.
A consistently good performance over a long period of time will not come without an ability to make adjustments on the part of Schmitt. Although he’s on a roll now, pitchers sometimes figure it out. It’s not uncommon for a hitter to start out hot and cool off when they learn how to pitch to him. In order to counter this, Schmitt will have to continue to develop his game. The physical aspect of getting the bat on the ball and the mental aspect of pitch selection, plate discipline, and judgment are equally important.
The Giants Could Use Another Slugger
The Giants can definitely use a hitter like Schmitt right about now. Home run power has been, and will continue to be, a critical tool for the Giants. Whether they’re in a situation of having to play for one run or multiple runs, sluggers in the lineup will help them win. All statistics matter, but home runs have a particular significance.
They won’t lead the league with 241 as they did in 2021. But hopefully, it will still be a tool that can get them into the postseason.
The Odd Side of Schmitt’s Callup
CASEY SCHMITT. GOOSEBUMPS. 😱 pic.twitter.com/jUruQmG5cO
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) May 10, 2023
Darin Ruf was designated for assignment after posting a .718 OPS. He’s been a traditional Giant for a long time too. Also, there were probably better options in terms of cutting players. Brett Wisely, for example, isn’t a critical roster piece. He is hitting only .154 and definitely provides nothing irreplaceable.
And starting rotation depth doesn’t mean much if the pitchers aren’t actually good. Ross Stripling, Sean Manaea, and Jakob Junis are supposedly helpful depth to have in the organization, but it’s terrible when we see them actually pitch. Stripling and Manaea are being paid high salaries. But that isn’t the point at all. You’ve got to have the 26 best players available on your roster. Neither Stripling nor Manaea would be missed.
The Giants made a terrible mistake in signing Manaea in the first place. Stripling appears to have been a miss as well, but they did the best they could in his case. There was considerable reason to believe that he would be effective. But he has been a disappointment.
Ruf has looked somewhat like his old self. True, he’s not the guy he was until his OPS is at least over .800. But he saw only 23 plate appearances with the Giants in 2023, and that isn’t enough to make an accurate assessment.
So in the end, Schmitt’s presence on the roster is valuable. But a spot could probably have been cleared for him in a more prudent way.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Casey Schmitt, Yermin Mercedes, Darin Ruf, Brett Wisely, Ross Stripling, Sean Manaea, Jakob Junis