We've already begun our encompassing look at the second base position with the release of our consensus top 30 second basemen for the 2014 season. We will not be releasing a top prospect list by position this year, so there is no list of top 20 second base prospects coming, for the simple reason that ranking them for position isn't likely to help a lot of fantasy owners. Instead, as a part of each position, the prospect staff will look at a few prospects at each position who could potentially have an impact during the 2014 season. Next up is our look at Orioles' second base prospect Jonathan Schoop.
Weight: 210 lbs.
On 40-Man Roster: Yes
Options Remaining: 2
DOB: 10/16/1991 (Age 22 Season)
Schoop was signed by the Orioles out of Curacao back in August of 2008, and debuted with the Orioles' Dominican Summer League team in 2009. Solid performance in his stateside debut in 2010 led to a late-season promotion to High-A, and an assignment to full-season Low-A to start the 2011 campaign. He hit .316/.376/.514 in just 51 games there before being promoted to High-A, where he hit .271/.329/.375 down the stretch.
He moved up to AA for the 2012 season, playing second base alongside top Orioles' prospect Manny Machado until Machado's promotion to the Majors. The numbers didn't look as great (.245/.324/.386), but did hit 14 home runs. He was protected on the 40-man roster after the 2012 season. Injuries derailed a part of his 2013 campaign, as he appeared in just 70 games at AAA, but hit .256 with nine home runs in that time frame. He received a September call up, but appeared in just five games down the stretch.
The Scouting Report
I wrote about Schoop back in October, when he was ranked as the #5 fantasy prospect in the Orioles' system:
He has shown solid power, and the ability to make solid contact in the past, and while he has stolen double digit bases in previous years, it doesn't seem likely to be a major part of his game going forward. To me, he seems like he will be a solid contributor at a position looking for more depth. He's not likely to hit for a very high average, but a .265-.275 hitter with 15-20 home runs a season seems like a relatively reasonable likelihood if given a full season of at bats. He isn't likely to provide any value in the stolen base category, and his walk rate could lead him to have additional value in leagues where OBP is one of the categories.
Defensively, Schoop will likely slot in at second base, but can play the other infield positions as well should a need arise.
What's Keeping Him From Contributing Now?
The main competition for the starting second base job right now is the newly-acquired Jemile Weeks, although it remains to be seen how much competition that truly is. Both Weeks and Schoop have options remaining, so it is possible that one could end up in AAA and the other as the starter. Schoop's ability on defense also makes him a potential utility infielder option, although the team also has Alexi Casilla as a candidate for that.
When Could He Arrive?
2014 looks likely to be the year for Schoop, as I believe he beats out Weeks for the starting job in Spring Training.
What Can He Do When He Gets There?
I projected back in October that I thought he could hit in the .265-.270 range with 10-15 home runs in a full season of plate appearances, and think that still holds true. ZIPS projects him to hit .248 with 15 home runs in 471 plate appearances, which is probably a bit closer to realistic for the 2014 season.
I have Schoop ranked as my #27 second baseman, which is in large part due to potential contact issues, but primarily playing time concerns. While I do think he's a better option than Jemile Weeks, I'm not convinced that the Orioles agree right off the bat. He's worth a flier in deeper mixed leagues, and should be a nice MI option in AL-only leagues, given the upside of a full-season of at bats.
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Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonsbaseball