Schoop, Belfiore chosen to play in Rising Stars Game

Though they may seem hidden in the Arizona Fall League, which doesn’t generate a tremendous amount of coverage, Orioles farmhands Jonathan Schoop and Mike Belfiore haven’t gone unnoticed.

Schoop and Belfiore have been chosen to play in Saturday’s Rising Stars Game that will air live at 8 p.m. on MLB Network.

Schoop, a middle infielder and the third-ranked prospect in the Orioles’ system according to Baseball America, is batting .310/.453/.548 with four doubles, two homers, seven RBIs, nine walks and two stolen bases in 14 games with the Mesa Solar Sox. He stole home in a game earlier this week.

Belfiore, a left-handed reliever acquired from the Diamondbacks this year to complete the May trade of third baseman Josh Bell, is 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA and nine strikeouts in eight appearances covering eight innings.

I’m not sure of the AFL’s criteria for choosing its rosters, but Belfiore is part of the East team. He was 5-1 with a 2.85 ERA in 28 games with Double-A Bowie this season, with 50 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings.

I’ve been asked about Schoop’s chances of playing second base for the Orioles next year. He’s going to be assigned to Bowie or Triple-A Norfolk, and the rest is up to him. I’d expect him to play a lot of shortstop, his natural position, but also shift over to second base, as he’s been doing.

A spot would have to open up at second base for Schoop next year. The Orioles figure to bring in a player from outside the organization while remaining hopeful that Brian Roberts can avoid the disabled list. They also have Ryan Flaherty as an in-house candidate, and they must decide whether to tender Robert Andino a contract.

Andino could be non-tendered, with the idea of being re-signed and put in a super-utility role, as manager Buck Showalter has always envisioned for him in a perfect baseball world.

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