Sioux City Explorers Add Blake Schmit in Run for Title
In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier from the Minor League Sports Report examines the trade that sent former All-Star shortstop Blake Schmit from the Sioux Falls Canaries to the Sioux City Explorers.
Sioux City Explorers Acquire Blake Schmit
On Tuesday, the Sioux City Explorers acquired Blake Schmit from the Sioux Falls Canaries. Schmit is a former all-star shortstop who brings defensive skills, speed, and a quick bat to the Explorers. The Canaries received three players to be named later in return.
A Brief Look at the Shortstop’s Career
Blake Schmit was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 26th round of the 2014 draft. He remained in the Twins organization for only two seasons, not being given much of an opportunity despite reaching High-A Fort Myers in 2015.
A year later he was released by the team and signed with Sioux Falls. In his first season, Schmit hit .319 in 96 games, scoring 61 runs and driving in 29 more. He also stole 20 bases, and was selected to participate in the American Association All-Star Game in St. Paul.
In 2017, Schmit’s average dipped slightly, finishing the season hitting .274 in 92 games with 54 runs scored and a career high 44-RBI. He stole 20 bases again, while posting a solid .348 on-base percentage.
This season, the Canaries got off to a slow start, but not Schmit. The infielder was hitting .280 through the first 59 games of the season, and had been the top or second best hitter for Sioux Falls virtually all season. He scored 27 runs and drove in 25 before the trade.
What Blake Schmit Brings to Sioux City
The acquisition of Blake Schmit is an interesting one for the Sioux City Explorers. They already have arguably the best shortstop in the American Association in Nate Samson, and the addition of Schmit doesn’t seem to be a need.
However, the former Canaries star can also play second and third, as well as move to left or right field, something that would help to make him much more marketable to affiliate clubs. Schmit will likely be used in a variety of positions, giving Manager Steve Montgomery more versatility, plus he has a solid bat which makes this Sioux City even more dangerous.
In his first game with the team, Schmit was 3-5 with a run scored hitting sixth in the lineup. This is where his presence will be felt the most. The new Explorer moves out of the top of the order in Sioux City because Luis Durango and Michael Lang at the top of the order form arguably the top 1-2 punch in the American Association. This allows Montgomery to move Schmit to the sixth or seventh position in the lineup, plus he is an outstanding fielder which will only make this team stronger in all aspects of the game.
The Benefits for the Canaries
This has been a disappointing season for the Canaries, who looked like they would compete in the North Division, but a slow start ended their hopes early. It makes sense for Manager Mike Meyers to start thinking ahead to next season, and the trade is a big step.
Since Blake Schmit was dealt before August 1, it is likely that he will be one of the players to be named later in the deal. He can return to Sioux Falls, which means that all that Meyers did was lend his star infielder to Sioux City for six weeks and he will receive two players in return for doing so.
By Robert Pannier