After a tremendous spring, infielder Johnathan Schoop earned a spot on the Baltimore Orioles‘ Opening Day lineup. However, he did not get the start last night, and he will begin the season in a platoon with newly acquired Steve Lombardozzi. This is a not a good decision for the Orioles, and it could have damaging consequences.
Schoop is an extremely talented prospect, and he has to be playing every day. Having him sit on the bench does not give him the experience he needs, and it will be hard for him to get in a rhythm if his playing time is inconsistent. If the Orioles continue to relegate him to the bench, it will be detrimental to his development and it could also hurt his performance this season.
While Schoop’s development is critical, the strongest reason to start him is that he is simply Orioles’ best option at the moment. While Steve Lombardozzi is a nice acquisition, he profiles more as a utility player. His power is severely limited, and he has not produced during his major league career. He is not a player who should be starting, and he should especially not be taking away at bats from a promising prospect.
Schoop’s upside is significantly higher than Lombardozzi’s, so the Orioles are making a huge mistake if they do not play him every day. He is a top rated prospect, and he can be an impact player. A decision to have him in a platoon hurts the Orioles this season, and it also hurts Schoop’s development.