The San Francisco Giants got shut out of the Gold Glove Awards, with not a single nomination. That’s not super surprising given how truly horrific their defensive performance was all year.
But it’s different in the Minor Leagues, where on Tuesday it was announced that the Giants organization had a pair of Gold Glove winners, more than any other team. Gold Gloves in Minor League Baseball are given out to one player at each position, regardless of level. The Giants cleaned up at third base, with Casey Schmitt, and at catcher, with Patrick Bailey.
Schmitt had perhaps the best season of any Giants prospect in 2022. After a mediocre debut season in 2021, Schmitt — a second-round pick in 2020 — exploded in 2022. He started the year with High-A Eugene, and hit and fielded well enough to earn a midseason promotion to AA Richmond. He was fantastic there, and even snuck in some AAA games after the AA season ended. The organization is ridiculously high on him, and there’s a decent chance that he not only debuts, but becomes a key part of the MLB roster at some point during the 2023 season.
Bailey’s season was less good, so it’s nice to see his defensive abilities recognized. The 2020 first-round pick repeated High-A and stayed there all year, battling injuries and inconsistent performance. Fans were surely hoping for more from a 23 year old first-round pick, but a 113 wRC+ with the best backstop defense in the Minors isn’t exactly a disaster.
2022 as a whole was seen as a disappointing year for the Giants farm, but it’s pretty clear that they’re doing some special things on defense. In addition to Schmitt and Bailey, shortstop Aeverson Arteaga, middle infielder Tyler Fitzgerald, and center fielders Luis Matos and Grant McCray earned high marks all year for their work with the glove, and Matos took home AFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Given how bad the Giants defense was last year, seeing some up and coming defensive talent in the Minors should make us all smile.