What Has Changed? Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

With Manny Machado staring for the Orioles, is his former double play partner ready to follow in those footsteps?

Changes in a prospects' stock are quite normal as they rise through the ranks of the Minor Leagues. Injuries, hot or cold streaks, or even just new information can really elevate or drop a young player in rankings. Throughout the season, Kevin Nielsen and I will be looking at some players that have been profiled before at Fake Teams, and talking about what has changed since those reports. This afternoon, we look at Orioles' infielder, Jonathan Schoop.

What We Said Then

Schoop seems to be overshadowed no matter where he goes. In the O's system he has had to deal with top-10 propsects in Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy, and Kevin Gausman, and even playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic he was again an afterthought after Andrelton Simmons, Jurickson Profar and Xander Bogaerts. Still, he has consistently ranked in the back half of top-prospect lists and could be an impact player in his own right. Here's what Craig Goldstein had to say about Schoop back in October:

At 20-years old and in Double-A, Schoop's numbers need to be put into context. His swing is solid but is unlikely to produce a high average, though he should produce enough power to be above-average at second base and average at third base. One would think that a sub .400 slugging percentage for a power prospect would be damaging, but given his age, it's unlikely that Schoop is done developing his power and the advanced pitching he faced likely stymied him from putting it to use in games.

Despite playing in Double-A all of 2012, I wouldn't expect to see Schoop in the majors in 2013. He's still raw as a prospect and was moved aggressively last year. I think exposing him to more advanced pitching that forces him to adjust instead of letting him feast on weaker arms will benefit him in the long run, but we may not see those benefits in 2013. He hasn't lost any luster as a prospect, but we also aren't any close to seeing him in Baltimore. When he does get there, look for a .260s type hitter with above-average power and the ability to play multiple infield positions. He's not a top tier prospect, but he's exactly the type of depth guy that the Orioles are otherwise lacking. While we would normally expect a player who spent all of 2012 in Double-A to break into the majors within the next couple years, I don't think Schoop entrenches himself before 2015 at the earliest.

What We Think Now

Well after his stint in the WBC and a strong spring training, Baltimore once again decided to challenge Schoop, sending him to Triple-A Norfolk to start the season, where he had mixed results before suffering a stress fracture in his back in late-May. Prior to hitting the disabled list, Schoop was hitting .268/.331/.386 with 3 home runs and 1 stolen base in 34 games. Now along with Tigers' prospect Nick Castellanos, Schoop is one of just two 21-year old position players in the International League this year so we still need to view his numbers with some context, yet I am becoming somewhat tired of giving him that excuse. Castellanos, for comparisons' sake, is hitting .300/.375/.498 against the same competition. Scouts note that he has a bit of a bat wrap that messes with his timing and limits his ability to handle premium velocity. For fantasy purposes, that mechanical flaw won't allow him to tap into his above-average power, limiting his utility because he is not a base stealing threat. In the Minors he has played shortstop, second base, and some third base, shuffled around a bit to accommodate Manny Machado and also because the organization has Machado and J.J. Hardy. It looks as if his future destination will be at second base, but I agree with Craig that that may not be until 2014 with him taking over the job in 2015. And even then, I think he's more of a solid average player, like a Daniel Murphy, than a star.

Andrew Ball is a writer for Fake Teams, Fantasy Ninjas, and Beyond the Box Score.

You can follow him on twitter @Andrew_Ball.

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