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Prospect Profile: Jonathan Schoop, INF, Baltimore Orioles

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Jonathan Schoop
Jonathan Schoop
Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

One player I am watching closely this spring is infielder Jonathan Schoop of the Baltimore Orioles. Here is my take from the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book, followed by some additional comments.

Jonathan Schoop, 2B-SS-3B, Baltimore Orioles
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 187 DOB: October 6, 1991
2011: Grade C+; 2012: Grade B

His name is pronounced "Scope," like the mouthwash. No matter how you say it, Jonathan Schoop looks like a pretty solid prospect to me. Although his Double-A performance metrics weren't very good (OPS -2 percent, wRC+ 97), he was quite young for the level at age 20. He's still honing his plate discipline and hasn't fully tapped his natural power, but he seemed to make progress in both departments in the Arizona Fall League. I think he could take a large step forward as a hitter very soon. Schoop split time between second and shortstop last year due to the presence of Manny Machado. I think he's best at second base, but his arm is very strong and his range is adequate for shortstop, at least in the short run (no pun intended). There's been talk of Schoop as a third baseman, but his bat will have to max out for that to be practical. Schoop isn't ready for the majors and will probably struggle if rushed, but I remain enamored with his potential. The tools are more important than the numbers right now with this one. Grade B.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY: Schoop is one of those guys I like better than the numbers. The key thing here is age: he's only 21 and while he hasn't dominated statistically, I think there is a lot to build on. He showed a reasonably keen eye when I saw him in the Arizona Fall League, and there's enough bat speed for his hitting to project quite well.

Uncertainties revolve around his position and he clearly needs more time in the minors, so don't expect him to be a big fantasy investment for 2013. I don't see him as a high batting average type, but his OBP and SLG should be very solid in time. If he returns to Double-A to open '13, he could be one of the best bats at that level this season. If he opens in Triple-A, he will probably need more adjustment time. Either way I wouldn't expect a major league impact until late '14 or '15, but even in that time frame he'd still be just 22/23.