Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Schoop’s best season ever
The Baltimore Orioles second baseman, Jonathan Schoop, had his best season in his four full years in the MLB.
His performance was recognized by the managers, players, and fans who selected the Baltimore Orioles middle-infielder to play in the All-Star Game.
Schoop’s outstanding 2017 was punctuated by his slash line: .293/.338/.503/.841. It highlighted both his ability to hit for power and his ability to simply get on base.
Leading the team in several batting stats
Schoop was at or near the top of every batting stat with the Orioles and with the MLB. He led the team with 105 RBIs and finished second with 32 home runs. Throughout the season, Schoop and Manny Machado went back and forth with home runs, but Machado finished with one more by the time the season ended. Schoop also led the team with 35 doubles.
Schoop can hit any type of pitching. Against left-handed pitchers, he hit .300 and against right-handed pitchers, he hit .290. He is better hitting at home and averages .303, but his away numbers weren’t bad, as he hit .283 on the road. His photograph could be easily placed next to “consistency” in the dictionary. He’s that good. Schoop’s one noticeable difference is that he grounded into two-times more double plays at home than away.
Top defensive stats
He not only proved that he could hit, but Schoop also showed his defensive abilities. His ability to turn a double play was proved by the fact that he was involved 132 of them turned from second base. No other second baseman in the MLB turned that many double plays in 2017. Schoop also led the MLB in range, with 5.04. His fielding percentage at second base was .981, which included his 15 errors in 1385 innings.
What to improve for 2018 and beyond
Schoop has two weaknesses that he could improve upon for 2018. As a team, the Orioles were the worst team in the MLB. Schoop only stole one base in all of 2017. In fact, he has only six stolen bases to his name in his career. He could also improve his patience at the plate. In 2017, he walked only 35 times but struck out 142. He batted in the third hole for most of the season and his slash line supported Buck Showalter‘s decision to put him there.
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Schoop was one of the most consistent players in the Orioles lineup. Unlike Machado, who didn’t get hot until the second half and Trey Mancini who had noticeable streaks, Schoop hit the ball consistently from game to game. His longest streak without a hit was three games in early April. Otherwise, he rarely ever went more than two games without a hit. And, in many of his hitless games, he ended up on base with a walk.
Top month and series
His best month was July when his slash was .343/.377/.638/1.015. He hit nine home runs and 28 RBIs. Schoop finished the month with 36 hits in 26 games. When the Orioles played the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros between July 17 and 23, Schoop hit .433/.438/.800/1.238 going 13 for 30 at home. This two-game stretch was his best of the season as he had multi-hit games six of the seven games against these tough Texas teams.
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Fortunately, Schoop is under team control for a few more years. In his second year of arbitration, the Orioles are expected to give him a significant increase from his $3.4 million he earned in 2017. He is a true asset to the team and at only 26 years old, he should have plenty of more All-Star seasons on the horizon.