SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants expect many of their best prospects to reach the big leagues this season. The first big appearance will come Tuesday at Oracle Park.
Infielder Casey Schmitt has been called up from Triple-A Sacramento, sources tell NBC Sports Bay Area. The Giants player, fourth in the MLB pipeline, is expected to be in the lineup at shortstop for the second game against the Washington Nationals, who will have Patrick Corbin on the mound. To clear a roster spot, the Giants drafted Darin Ruf and selected Cal Stevenson back to Triple-A.
Schmidt, 24, was the organization’s second-round pick from San Diego State in the 2020 MLB draft. He’s one of the best young defensemen the organization has ever had, with scouts comparing him to major leaguers like Matt Chapman and predicting he could compete for Gold Glove awards. In third place down the line. Schmidt won the minor league Gold Glove Award last season, but it’s his increased versatility defensively that has accelerated the schedule.
Schmidt shone last summer when Marco Luciano was injured, and the Giants have impressed with what they saw from him this spring as he played both spots on the left side of the field. Last week, he saw some time at second base at Triple-A, adding another option as he prepared for his major league debut.
Schmidt is trusted by the Giants at all three positions, and many on the staff see him as the second-best shortstop option for the organization right now, behind only Brandon Crawford. Without Crawford, the Giants have been playing Tyro Estrada at short notice, but he’s considered below average there by advanced metrics.
The Giants always knew Schmidt could be an impact fullback at the big-league level, but he broke out on top last season, hitting 17 hits in High-A and then notching 378 on base in Double-A. Schmidt kept the momentum going this spring, winning the Barney Nugent Award, given to the best newcomer in big league camp. He had a .313/.352/.410 slanted streak in 32 Triple-A games, with a homer and 10 doubles.
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While the Giants want to see more discipline in the plate, a homer-based lineup could use a change of pace. Schmidt consistently demonstrated his ability to find holes in the minors, and would instantly become one of the fastest players on a major league roster. More than anything, though, he’ll continue to shore up defense behind a rookie team built on getting ground balls. It seems no coincidence that his debut will come behind Logan Webb.
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