Giants rookie Casey Schmidt shows all-around athleticism in historic game

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Schmidt shows off his all-round athleticism in historic game originally appeared nbc sports birea

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Giants broke camp in March and headed back to Northern for the Bay Bridge Series, Casey Schmidt was on the flight. The staff wanted to reward him for a breakout spring, but also wanted to give him a chance to play at a big league park, knowing he would do so at some point during the regular season.

Schmidt started the first game against the and went 0-for-5 while striking out three. But the next day, a small group from the front office watched Schmidt take grounders at Oracle Park, one of them flashing a wide smile.

“Did anyone see his sprint speed yesterday?” He asked.

Schmidt had a grounder at 29.4 feet per second, a hair under 30, which is considered elite for big leaguers. It was a throwaway moment in an exhibition game, but it opened some additional eyes within the organization.

The Giants knew Schmidt had plenty of raw potential when they drafted him in the second round in 2020. He could try to go both ways in the minors.

But as Schmidt worked his way toward San Francisco, attention turned elsewhere. He is known more for his glove than anything, with most scouts putting an elite grade on him defensively, but more average on his other equipment.

Through three games, the Raw production has definitely stood out. But so, too, are the tools.

Schmidt had four hits on Thursday and showed a great all-round game Gave the Giants a 6-2 win at the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 27 big league innings, he has displayed surprising pop and an arm that is well above average. Schmidt hasn't had much running yet — it helps when you're packing balls in the seats — but he reached 29.5 feet per second on an infield single in the seventh.

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Schmidt's homer Thursday in his first at-bat came off the bat at 111.6 miles per hour, making it the third hardest hit ball of the season by the Giants, behind only two by Joc Pederson. When you're getting equal juice out of your headstrong DH and your rookie infielder, you know the latter is in some good company.

The ball traveled an estimated 443 feet, landing in the second deck at Chase Field, a rarity for right-handed batters. Afterwards, manager Gabe Kapler described Schmidt as “athletic, young, explosive and physical”, and said the rookie had kept a loose demeanor throughout.

“I think since he's come up, he's done everything really well,” Kapler told reporters in Phoenix. “The shortstop play has been really impressive as well. Arm strength, big hits… now, like, extreme power in left field with that ball. It's been a very, very important moment for Casey so far.”

Schmidt wasn't really tested defensively in his first two games, but he had plenty of opportunities behind sinkerballer Alex Cobb, who got 12 grounders on the quick turf at Chase Field. Schmidt handled six of them and was part of two double plays.

On one of Schmidt's first opportunities, he jumped toward the hole to backhand a grounder from Ketel Marte, then struck out 92.7 mph for Lamonte Wade Jr. The throw was the fastest of the season and second fastest by a Giants position player. season by an MLB infielder after striking out only 92.8 mph off Pittsburgh's Vanille Cruz.

more traditional statistics tell the story of someone who is off to one of the best starts in the history of suffrage.

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Schmidt joined Willie McCovey as the only Giants to record eight hits in his first three games, and he is the first shortstop in the modern era to have multiple hits and an extra-base hit in each of his first three MLB games.

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I'm making it as simple as possible, just trying to stay inside myself and play good batting and defence.” “That's what I've worked on. I'm trying not to do too much.”

That type of production will keep him in the lineup in the short term. In the longer term, advanced statistics tell an equally important story. At some point, pitchers will adjust and some luck will turn, but in just three games, Schmidt has shown he can have the bat speed and athleticism to limit the slump and lock down a consistent role for years to come. Is.

“He looked great to all of us in spring training,” Kapler said earlier this week. “I think the organization believes that he is not only a quality guard, but also a good all-around athlete with good instincts.”

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