SF Giants send once-hot prospect back to minors, call up Bay Area native

SF Giants send once-hot prospect back to minors, call up Bay Area native

OAKLAND — The rookie who started the Giants’ youth movement this season had his first stint in the majors come to an end Sunday.

After a scalding hot start, infielder Casey Schmitt had been ice cold for weeks, and reached the end of his runway with the return of Thairo Estrada on Saturday. Originally called up at the start of May, Schmitt was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento for veteran utilityman and Bay Area native Mark Mathias.

The Giants hope that Schmitt, 23, will continue his development with regular playing time in the minors while adding a player capable of playing three infield spots to their major-league roster who can give them better at-bats.

Since being acquired from Seattle at the trade deadline, Mathias has two hits in 11 at-bats with Triple-A Sacramento but had also already drawn three walks. Manager Gabe Kapler said that he “can give us a quality, dependable at-bat, which Casey was struggling to provide, to be open.”

From the time he was called up on May 9 to the end of his first month in the majors, Schmitt was batting .325/.329/.470, a 116 wRC+ (league average: 100). Since the end of May, however, Schmitt was batting .120/.212/.162, a wRC+ of 10 (90% below league average).

Kapler delivered the news to Schmitt after Saturday’s 2-1 loss, the fourth time in five games he wasn’t in the starting lineup.

“What I mentioned to him is we need him to go play,” Kapler said. “He knows there’s an element of performance that’s going to keep you at the major league level that he’s capable of. It just hasn’t been there for the past calendar month or more.”

Pitchers took advantage of Schmitt’s free-swinging approach. It infamously took the rookie 69 plate appearances to draw his first walk. He improved his plate discipline more recently, working consecutive nine- and 10-pitch at-bats on the last road trip, but with no results to show for it. Both those long at-bats ended in strikeouts.

The Giants stuck with him throughout his struggles to adjust to major-league pitching because of the versatility he provided with his glove, more than capably filling in at second, short and third. He’ll split time in Sacramento with fellow top prospect Marco Luciano, who was sent down after a brief call-up to gain comfort at second.

Schmitt’s call-up set off a run of quick promotions for the Giants’ top prospects, followed shortly after by Patrick Bailey and Luis Matos.

While it was a struggle for the better part of the past two months, Kapler doesn’t believe it was detrimental to his development.

“A lot of growth happens when you’re stumbling and looking for ways to pull yourself out of those struggles,” Kapler said. “I’m confident that there was a lot of player development that occurred. …

“The one thing that Casey did remarkably well while he was here was move around the diamond and play good quality solid defense. But the way it looks right now, Thairo’s back and good to go so he’ll be our regular second baseman. Craw’s doing a great job out there, obviously he’s going to be our regular shortstop for the time being. For all of those reasons, it made sense to make the swap.”

Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/08/06/sf-giants-send-once-hot-prospect-back-to-minor-leagues-call-up-bay-area-native/

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