Only a handful of teams have players who will man the field in the 2017 All-Star Game and the Baltimore Orioles are one of them.
Jonathan Schoop is the only position player from the Baltimore Orioles who will don an All-Star jersey on July 11 in Miami, Florida.
He will platoon the position with Jose Altuve from the Houston Astros and Starlin Castro from the New York Yankees. Altuve is the official starter since he received the most fan votes, but Schoop’s spot on the team as a reserve is still a high honor. Especially considering who did not make the team.
The 25-year-old native of Curacao will make his first All-Star Game appearance and he is fully deserving of the honor. He beat out players like Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, and Dustin Pedroia who have a combined 14 All-Star Games between them.
Top second-baseman numbers
In 2017, Schoop is currently sitting with a set of satisfying batting stats: .293/.348/.538 with an OPS of .886. He has 16 home runs and 51 RBIs. His oWAR is 2.6 with an overall WAR of 1.6. Only three American League second basemen have better batting numbers with a similar number of at-bats: Altuve and Castro. Pedroia has 50 fewer at-bats and a slightly higher batting average of .297, but his other numbers are nowhere near the quality of Schoop’s numbers.
Pleasant surprise on a team of sluggers
In a team that is loaded with sluggers, Schoop has been a pleasant surprise. He and Manny Machado both have 16 home runs. But, Schoop has performed better than anyone else at the plate with the exception of Trey Mancini. Despite the better batting stats, Schoop has scored more runs and he has more hits that Mancini.
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In an interview with Eduardo A. Encina with The Baltimore Sun, teammate Machado said about Schoop:
"“His game has gone to another level, and finally other players and teams and coaches are finally seeing it and giving him a chance to represent this organization and represent himself in a good way.”"
"“Jon is very deserving. Very deserving.”"
Jose Altuve won the fan vote to get the honors of starting in the All-Star Game and Starlin Castro won the player vote. Schoop won his spot through the MLB vote, which is also quite an honor. He will join 23 other first-timers at the game in Miami.
This game should prove to be an enjoyable exhibition. The AL team will be managed by the Cleveland Indians Terry Francona who will face off against Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs. Since the game no longer determines the home-field advantage in the World Series, the managers can relax and be creative with the way they run their teams. Catch the game on July 11 at 7:30 on Fox.