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Even more fun with small sample sizes

Casey Schmitt’s hot start has hot historical backing.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

We sure did have a lot of fun last night, didn’t we folks? The San Francisco Giants kicked off an important four-game series with an impressive win thanks to their #4 prospect Casey Schmitt doing #4 prospect things.

You’ve already seen the “fun” tweets —

You’ve read the important coverage (subscription required) — now let’s get a little silly with some small sample size theater! You ready?

[holds for hoots and hollers.]

I’m going to start with the basics: Statcast.

Six of Schmitt’s eleven batted ball events have been “Hard Hit” (that is, 95+ mph). His teeny-tiny 12 PA Statcast line of 55% Hard Hit Rate, 92.6 mph average exit velocity, +6 degrees launch angle average and 170 ft average distance puts him right in the 15th-20th zone of the Statcast leaderboard. Some comparable players based on those numbers:

15. D.J. LeMahieu
20. Bryan Reynolds
21. J.D. Davis

FanGraphs already has Schmitt with 0.5 wins above replacement and he’s on the front of the Giants’ team page as of this morning, the sixth-most valuable batter by fWAR:

6. Casey Schmitt (3 G), 0.5
5. Blake Sabol (25 G), 0.6
4. Mike Yastrzemski (25 G), 0.8
3. J,D, Davis (34 G), 1.2
2. LaMonte Wade Jr. (35 G), 1.3
1. Thairo Estrada (35 G), 1.7

Throw in the pitchers and Schmitt’s +0.5 is still the 9th-best total. So, let’s just assume heading into the weekend that Schmitt is one of the ten best Giants already. Cool!

Now for one last bit of real fun. I went to Baseball Reference and used the Play Index — is it still called that? — and looked at every batter who at least two home runs and at least five hits in his first three career games. Now, that automatically removes Joe DiMaggio from this list because he didn’t hit his second home run until career game number 15, so — here’s another list for you to compare Schmitt against. It’s better than the Brett Pill one:

8. Casey Schmitt (2023), 8-for-12 (12 PA), 8 hits, 2 2B, 2 HR, 16 TB
7. Dino Restelli (1949), 5-for-12, 5 hits, 1 2B, 2 HR, 12 TB
6. Mark Quinn (1999), 6-for-11, 6 hits, 2 2B, 2 HR, 14 TB
5. Aaron Judge (2016), 5-for-10, (12 PA), 5 hits, 1 2B, 2 HR, 12 TB
4. John Bowker (2008), 6-for-10 (11 PA), 6 hits, 1 3B, 2 HR, 14 TB
3. Zeke Bonura (1934), 5-for-13 (14 PA), 5 hits, 1 2B, 2 HR, 12 TB
2. Gabe Alvarez (1998), 6-for14, 6 hits, 1 2B, 2 HR, 13 TB
1. Kyle Lewis (2019), 5-for-11, 5 hits, 1 2B, 3 HR, 15 TB

So, Schmitt comes out ahead in total hits and total bases. He’s also, plausibly, the best defender on this list.

Anyway, that was fun. Let’s hope the party continues into the weekend.