This off-season has been a time of prospect rankings and deep dives for the dynasty team over at Pitcher List. We have been working hard to bring you quality content to help take your dynasty team to the next level. We released Top-15 prospect rankings for each team, a staff top-100 prospect list, and then broke that list down further by the top ten for each position.
I had the pleasure of writing up the top ten third-base prospects for dynasty leagues. In that article, I talked about how the next wave of great third basemen are coming. Some of the names at the top are already household names like Gunnar Henderson, Josh Jung, and Jordan Walker. One person that did not make that list is Casey Schmitt.
Schmitt has been one of my biggest prospect crushes this off-season. Schmitt’s exclusions from our top 100, MLB.com’s top 100, and FanGraphs’ top 100 prospects do not mean he is a name to ignore. Schmitt broke out in a big way during the 2022 season and has been one of the brightest shining prospects during Spring Training.
Schmitt will not be overlooked in dynasty circles for much longer. Keep reading to find out why now is the perfect time to jump on the Casey Schmitt hype train.
Casey Schmitt: From Elite Defensive Prospect to Dynasty Must-Roster
Who is Casey Schmitt?
2022 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 526 PA/.293/.365/.489/21 HR/78 RBI/72 R
Casey Schmitt was the Giants’ second-round pick during the abbreviated 2020 draft. A two-way standout during his time at San Diego State, the Giants quickly transitioned Schmitt to a full-time third baseman upon joining the organization. Schmitt is a natural third-baseman with one of the best gloves in the Minor Leagues. Injuries to his nose and wrist prevented him from ever getting comfortable at the plate during his debut season. Despite a .247/.318/.406 slash at Low-A in 2021, the Giants started Schmitt off in 2022 at High-A where things really took off.
In 383 plate appearances, Schmitt blasted 17 home runs (a 27/600 pace) while batting .273. He saw his HR/FB rate jump from a porous and likely unlucky 7.7% in 2021 to 15.9% while at High-A. The Giants felt as if they saw all they needed to see and pushed Schmitt to Double-A where he continued his success, slashing .342/.378/.517 in 29 games. To top it all off, the Giants gave Schmitt a taste of Triple-A for his final four games where he went 5/15 with one home run.
The Giants have aggressively pushed Schmitt through the Minor Leagues and he has looked up to the challenge at every level. Schmitt has carried his Minor League success through to Spring Training this year where he has continued to open eyes. He is third on the team in at-bats while batting .340. He has also added several impressive defensive plays to his highlight reel.
Casey Schmitt makes it look easy: pic.twitter.com/51XPrIcVxI
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 19, 2023
Despite only having 33 games played above Double-A, Schmitt has thrust himself into the center of the competition at third base. The position is wide open on the depth chart, and he could be on the fastest trolleybus to San Francisco.
Casey Schmitt’s Contact Skills
Despite being a two-way player in college, Schmitt was one of the more polished hitters in the 2020 draft class. He hit .315 in his sophomore season at San Diego State and followed that up with a .323 average in 16 games before the COVID shutdown. His first professional season led to some concerns after he hit just .247, but much of that can be attributed to a .269 BABIP. Schmitt responded in 2022 by posting an impressive .293 average across three different Minor League levels.
Although his strikeout rate has risen with each promotion, there is not a concerning amount of swing-and-miss in Schmitt’s profile. He posted a swinging strike rate of just 13% last year and does not profile to have long-term strikeout concerns. With above-average contact skills, the only flaw in his plate discipline is over-aggression with breaking pitches. Schmitt needs to continue laying off breakers down and away if he wants to reach his full potential.
Although he loves to tap into his pull-side power, Schmitt is more than willing to take what the pitcher gives him and hit balls the other way. The ability to use all fields provides a level of security for Schmitt’s hit tool. There are times when his swing can get a bit inconsistent. He is yet to post high-line drive and tends to fluctuate between ground balls and fly balls. This can hurt his average in the long run, but there is no reason to believe the Giants cannot help resolve this issue. Schmitt currently profiles to hit somewhere around .260 long-term.
Casey Schmitt’s Power
Power is key to being an impactful third-baseman in fantasy baseball. Thanks to a 6’2” frame, Schmitt has plenty of that and put it on full display during his 21-home run campaign last season. Prior to the 2022 season, Schmitt felt like his swing was too long and did not come through the zone fast enough to really tap into his raw power. He adjusted his swing, and the home runs came with it. This approach appears to have stuck as Schmitt is continuing to hit moonshot home runs this spring.
Casey Schmitt HAMMERED this ball and he knew it. A force on defense AND offense! pic.twitter.com/UvCYj7KFpw
— Giant Prospective (@giantprospectiv) February 25, 2023
Although Schmitt can easily hit balls over the fence, he is excellent at driving the ball into the gaps. With an all-fields approach and plus exit velocities, Schmitt’s power is more than just home runs. He profiles to be a doubles machine with the 20+ home runs being a bonus. As evidenced by the video above, the pull-side power is phenomenal, and tapping into that more consistently could take Schmitt from 20-25 home run potential up beyond 30. The issue becomes if this adjustment would negatively impact his hit tool. Schmitt’s profile might be best suited for his gap-to-gap approach which still holds plenty of fantasy value.
Why the Glove Matters
When breaking down players from a fantasy baseball perspective, fielding is often irrelevant. Being an elite fielder does not help you score more fantasy points or else Kevin Kiermaier would be a much bigger asset to own in fantasy leagues. Where the glove does make a difference is playing time. Real-life teams value a player’s defensive skills and often make that the deciding factor in position battles.
Casey Schmitt is in a battle right now for the third base job in San Francisco. The two players ahead of him are David Villar and Wilmer Flores. The Giants love Flores’ defensive versatility, but he is far from a Gold-Glove-caliber defender. Villar is unproven at the Major League level and was below-average defensively last season. Schmitt, meanwhile, is one of the highest-graded defensive third base prospects in baseball and is already capable of making plays like the one earlier look easy. He has excellent arm strength (from pitching at San Diego State) and could easily turn into a Gold Glover.
Schmitt’s advantages defensively help to elevate his stock a little bit more in the view of the Major League organization. For most players like Villar, you must be above-average offensively to maintain a spot in the everyday lineup. Schmitt does not need to do that. He can go through a period of adjustment in the Major Leagues and still be a lineup regular thanks to his glove. Teams tend to give up on bats that do not perform instantly upon their Major League promotion. Schmitt’s glove helps prevent that from happening to him and provides a little bit more security from a dynasty perspective.
Schmitt’s Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Prior to the 2022 season, nobody thought it would be realistic for Schmitt to make an impact as soon as 2023. Now that he has taken the next step offensively, he is banging on the door and San Francisco will only be able to keep him down for so long. Schmitt is already 24 and as polished as they come. He will make his debut in 2023 and could have a significant fantasy impact instantly. His value could be even higher in OBP leagues where his above-average plate discipline is magnified.
As discussed above, Schmitt might never post the most prolific averages, but he will not be a drain either. He profiles to hit around .260 with the potential for 20-25 home runs. Schmitt’s ceiling is not as high as some other prospects, but he is safe. In the context of the articles I wrote earlier this off-season discussing high variance and high-floor players, Schmitt definitely fits the mold of a high-floor guy. Schmitt does not stand out in one offensive category and lacks speed but can be solid across four categories while being a consistent lineup presence thanks to his glove. After a strong Spring Training, Schmitt’s value is on the rise—making now your last chance to invest.