With Spring Training around the corner it is time to see how the players from the Kingdom of the Netherlands will do in the upcoming season. Of course there is no crystal ball and it is still up in the air, but in general you can make a decent prediction based on the performance of previous years.
Jonahtan Schoop is another gifted infielder from Curacao. He was signed by the Orioles in 2008 as a free agent. He spent his first full four years in the minors. After spending time with the Gulf Coast Orioles, the Aberdeen Ironbirds and the Norfolk Tides, Jonathan was called up by the Orioles on September 3rd. Until September 25 he served as a bench warmer, but eventually he got his first at bat on that date. He debuted in the Bigs with a single and a homerun out of three at bats.
While spending time in the minors, Jonathan was part of the Dutch national team that won the World Cup in Panama in 2011 by beating Cuba in the final 2-1. He made the final out playing at third base, as he caught a soft line drive.
In 2014 he played his full MLB season (137 games). Despite displaying some good defense at second base (.987 fielding percentage), he struggled at the plate with an average of .209.
Jonathan would mis a significant part of the 2015 season due to a nagging injury. Eventually he played 86 games in which he showed that his batting had improved a lot compared with 2014. In 305 at bats, he collected 85 hits (.279) with seventeen doubles and fifteen homeruns, which shows that he has some pop in his bat as well.
The O’s have some high hopes as they expect big things from him in 2016 as MLB.com states: “The Orioles expect big things from their young slugger Jonathan Schoop in 2016 as Baltimore gets set to contend for the division crown.”
So what to expect from Jonathan in the upcoming season? Based on his last two years, one may expect that his batting will improve more. Of course not with the big strides as it did in 2015, but some improvement towards the .290 or .300 may be possible. I wonder if you can call someone who hits fifteen homeruns a slugger, but also on that part we can expect some improvement. It is remarkable to see how he can hit for the fences with his quick and short swing.
With 24 he is still young enough to improve his fielding, even though it is not bad. Last year he committed only seven errors in 235 attempts resulting in a fielding percentage of .982.
Like many infielders from Curacao, Jonathan has dealt with the bad condition of the infields over there, so the well maintained infields of the major leagues should not be a problem for him. So expect some improvement in his defense as well.
Barring injuries, 2016 may be another fine season for Jonathan.