Krukow explains how Schmitt, Bailey have made Giants better


The Giants spent the offseason adding veteran free agents to the lineup, rotation and bullpen in hopes of making a return to the MLB playoffs in 2023.

But little did they know that two rookies would have such a huge impact less than two months into the season.

Infielder Casey Schmitt, the Giants' No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his big-league debut on May 9 and has been a mainstay in the lineup ever since. Catcher Patrick Bailey, their No. 11 prospect, joined the club 10 days later and is drawing rave reviews from just about everyone involved with the team.

During a special edition of "Giants Talk," broadcaster Mike Krukow explained to Duane Kuiper and Cole Kuiper how Schmitt and Bailey have made their presence felt.

"Defensively, the team became a better team," Krukow said. "I think certain players, defensively, can relax those around them on the field and certainly that guy on the hill. I think Casey Schmitt did that when he came here. I say the same thing about Patrick Bailey. He is an accomplished catcher."

In the week that Bailey has been with the Giants, his pitch framing and steadiness behind the plate has been praised by Logan Webb, Gabe Kapler and the rest of the pitching staff.

Krukow, a former pitcher, offered insight into what makes hurlers feel comfortable throwing to Bailey.


"If you look at the way he has his hand load, he has his hand hitch, it's very small," Krukow said. "He sets the target, drops the glove, brings it back. From a pitcher's perspective, you never really lose sight of the target. Most guys in this new era with this new form of catching, they'll set the target, they'll drop it all the way to the ground and take the target away from a pitcher and then they bring it back up. The other thing too is the way he frames the ball, his elbow is very relaxed. That is the shock absorber for a catcher with soft hands. He received and he puts you to sleep and relaxes you, throwing to a guy that has that type of softness to his hands.

"The other thing that he'll do, he'll subtly get his body behind the glove, just to form a frame. We used to watch Buster Posey do that a lot and it's a way to form a frame with your body and it's a very convincing thing to certain umpires. The way that he handles pitchers and the way that he can block and frame and throw, he is the whole package. And I think he, defensively, has had the same effect that Casey Schmitt has had on the entire team, certainly the pitching staff."

Throughout his minor league career, Schmitt was heralded as an elite defensive third baseman and oftentimes was referred to as the best at the position in the minors since he was drafted out of San Diego State in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft.

But from the moment he was called up, Schmitt has torn the cover off the ball, collecting eight total hits in his first three MLB games, something only Willie McCovey had done in franchise history.

Bailey, on the other hand, picked up his first MLB hit in his first career start and homered the next day in his second start. Since then, he has one hit in seven at-bats, but Krukow is pleased with the offensive output the Giants have gotten from both rookies.

"What you get from them offensively has been a pure bonus," Krukow said. "I'm looking at Casey Schmitt now as a guy who's going to be a contributor with the bat. And I don't know yet what we're going to get from Patrick Bailey. I haven't seen enough at-bats. But he has had competitive at-bats and he takes walks. He had a great walk in Game 2 of the Minnesota series which was paramount with the bases loaded. It put a run on the board when they had two outs with the bases loaded.

"I really like what both these guys have brought. Plus, they're Giants. That's the first thing they were trained. The love of the Giants. And they'll take that with them the rest of their careers. And I love that power. That's great energy for a team."

RELATED: Schmitt's historic MLB debut a landmark moment for Giants

Entering Thursday's game in Milwaukee against the Brewers, the Giants are 9-6 since May 9 when Schmitt made his debut. He and Bailey aren't the only reason San Francisco is winning games, but they've been a big part of it.

It's still very early, but it appears the Giants have two long-term foundational pieces on their hands in Schmitt and Bailey. And Krukow has been impressed by the small sample size.

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast