It’s no secret that Jonathan Schoop is among the Baltimore Orioles’ brightest prospects and after a fantastic spring training combined with unfortunate injuries, the Orioles skipper Buck Showalter gave Schoop the chance to prove himself at the major league level.
First, let’s step back and look at how Schoop earned this opportunity. Quite frankly it came down to the lack of Manny Machado due to injury and a fantastic spring training from Schoop where he hit the cover off the ball. In 39 at-bats the young infielder hit .385/.432/.667 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
Throughout the first week of the season Schoop looked over-matched at the plate as he went 3-for-18 with seven strikeouts in five games. Many people assumed that his hot spring training was a fluke and while he had the raw potential he still wasn’t ready to face MLB pitching.
However, just by watching Schoop play against the New York Yankees the past three days you wouldn’t know he was a rookie adjusting to the league. In the three games Schoop has looked much better and the stats back it up. In 12 at-bats in this series Schoop has had five hits including a three-run home run off of Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees’ $155 million man.
The eye-test is something that is obviously very subjective, but you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody that would say Schoop hasn’t looked good against Yankees’ pitching the past three games. The most obvious example being early in the final game of the series on Wednesday night when Schoop showed amazing bat-speed to send a Tanaka delivering into the upper-deck with two men on-base and two outs. That home run alone is proof that Schoop is gaining confidence and beginning to adjust to major league pitching.
People better watch out because if Schoop keeps playing like this and Machado returns, the Orioles could have two of the brightest young stars in baseball.