With Opening Day just over a month away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2016 Orioles every day as they try to return to the playoffs for the third time in five years this season.
2B Jonathan Schoop
Contract status: Under club control through the 2019 season
2015 stats: .279/.306/.482, 15 HR, 39 RBI, 34 R, 2 SB, 321 PA
Why to be impressed: Despite missing over two months with a knee injury, the young second baseman nearly matched his 2014 home run total (16) in 160 fewer plate appearances. Schoop’s .788 on-base plus slugging percentage might be tough to sustain over a full season, but that kind of production would put him in the All-Star discussion at a position where offense is at a premium.
Why to be concerned: Schoop provided plenty of power in his second full season in the majors, but his strikeout rate (24.6 percentage) was virtually identical to his rookie year and his walk rate (2.8 percent) makes Adam Jones (4.2 percent) look downright patient. He has plenty of talent and is still maturing, but it’s difficult to sustain success when you struggle to make contact and show little plate discipline.
2016 outlook: It was impressive to watch Schoop ambush pitchers last summer after such a long layoff from the knee injury suffered in mid-April, and the Orioles hope that he will have a healthy spring. The Curacao native will never walk 90 times per season, but just a little more patience at the plate would go a long way in making him one of the better second basemen in the AL.
2016 not-so-scientific projections: .255/.295/.430, 22 HR, 53 RBI, 56 R, 3 SB, 552 PA