Jonathan Schoop has had his moments this year for the Orioles. He homered in two different games against New York’s Masahiro Tanaka. He homered off Toronto’s Drew Hutchison. He hit a pair of homers May 26 at Milwaukee off Kyle Lohse and Francisco Rodriguez.
During his rookie season at 22, Schoop is getting the bulk of the starts at second base. His two hits Sunday raised his average to .218 with six homers and 21 RBIs.
I asked manager Buck Showalter on Sunday how Schoop is dealing with all the ups and downs in his first full year in the big leagues?
“Think it’s more a challenge mentally and emotionally than anything,” Showalter said. “The thing I like (is) his defense hasn’t suffered. He knows, it gets harped on, bring something every game. How are you going to impact this game?
“You don’t get frustrated with them, you get frustrated for them. Because we feel like Jon is going to be a good hitter up here and there are things you go through. You know Manny (Machado), maybe moreso this year than last year, you go through them.”
Schoop has a .262 on-base percentage, a .333 slugging percentage and a .595 OPS. He has walked just seven times with 51 strikeouts.
“The game will, I don’t want to say humble you because Jon is a very humble guy to start with. It’s reality around every corner. The biggest jump is the pitching. Huge jump in the pitching between the past level and this one,” Showalter said.
Schoop had some modest offensive numbers at Double-A Bowie in 2012, batting .245 with a .710 OPS and at Triple-A Norfolk in 2013, batting .256 with a .697 OPS.
Showalter said teams now promote young talent even before they’ve mastered a level behind them.
“You look at all these guys on the field today, look back through and see how many dominated a level behind them. Doesn’t happen much more in today’s game. Back when I played, I hate saying that, but guys dominated a level and left it. Then they dominated another level. There is not a four-A league. That has changed about the game. Guys are flying through systems.”
As Schoop tries to find his way against the best pitchers in the world, does he have the right makeup to handle that?
“Well, who knows?” Showalter said. “We all think we know somebody. Until you really ... Jon has faced adversity in his life before. Frustrated for him. I know how hard he tries and how much he wants to. I know the ability is there. Sometimes it is tough to get out of your own way.
“It is very much like something I’ve seen with many guys with his potential. Some guys don’t get there.
“I told Manny, ‘You hit 10-15 home runs the rest of your career and hit .280 and play a good defense.’ Everybody wants more. This is hard to do. I just want to know he’ll (Schoop) be as good as he’s capable being. He’s going to seek his level.”
A reporter asked Showalter how a player “gets out of his own way.”
“Lot of it comes from teammates. You see who he migrates to. That’s good. The peers they play with, those words mean more to him than anything I can say. He’s getting good information,” Showalter said.