Even with recent struggles, Schoop should stay in the majors

Even though he has struggled at times at bat and has made five errors in the field, I think the Orioles should stick with Jonathan Schoop as their starter at second base. That’s for now.

With Manny Machado’s recent return to the team, Schoop should be given more time now to settle in at second base. How much time? That, as usual, depends on several factors, chief among them how he plays. How the team does and how others are hitting could impact that. If some other regulars start hitting more, the team is better able to carry a rookie player finding his way.

But some struggles are to be expected for Schoop, a player who is just 22 and has just 70 career games under his belt at Triple-A.

In 26 games, Schoop is batting .231 with seven doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs. He has an OBP of .278, a slugging percentage of .374 and OPS of .652.

Schoop has just two hits over his last 15 at-bats. Over his last 14 games, he is batting .156 (7-for-45) with one homer and two RBIs.

He has struck out 28 times and drew just his second walk yesterday, and that ratio has clearly unnerved some fans.

Schoop’s spot on the team is far from secure, but he has not been without his good moments. He had the three-run homer off Masahiro Tanaka and a four-hit, two-RBI game at Boston. He is an above-average defender at second base, but the only way some will believe that is to see him play well there over a long stretch of games.

I don’t know how long the leash will be and how many games he has here, with his average dropping and his ability to hit the breaking ball an issue. But on Sunday, he drew a walk to load the bases in the seventh, showing good patience in a key spot while taking a few close pitches. He singled in the ninth.

I don’t see any struggles being mentally difficult for Schoop to handle. He is a mentally strong player and very coachable. He’s remained upbeat through several ups and downs already in the first 29 games.

The O’s have plenty of options at second base. Jemile Weeks brings speed, Ryan Flaherty brings defense. Steve Lombardozzi is now at Triple-A, but could return soon with one phone call. But for now, Schoop has the gig.

The O’s initial plan seemed to be to keep Schoop at second base only. But then J.J. Hardy got hurt and things changed. Now that Hardy and Machado are both on the field with him, I think Schoop should get some time to settle in at second base. It’s worth taking a longer look.

What is your take on Schoop?

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