01 October 2012

Jonathan Schoop From A Defensive Perspective

I really enjoyed writing the last post about the defensive side of the ball, so I decided to do some more defensive driven posts, next focusing on the other player directly affected by Manny's move to 3B, Jonathan Schoop.

I was inspired by Matt P. in the comments section, and I apologize for giving kind of a short answer with not much depth to it, but the reasoning was because I was thinking about writing this post and he was a step ahead of me. So, first up, let's talk about Schoop. He is the enigma to most fans this season, he has been Machado's double play partner for the better part of the last year between Frederick and Bowie, and has been moved around the infield from SS to 3B and later to 2B over his few professional seasons. This is generally unusual for a top 100 or so prospect (no. 82 on Baseball America's 2012 pre-season list) as you want young players to get comfortable, develop good fielding habits and really master their position. While he hasn't particularly excelled at any of the three spots, he has played fairly average at all three.

As usual with defense, statistics don't tell the whole picture here, and being in the minor leagues, the statistics kept are spotty at best. Looking solely at the errors he has made, in his four professional seasons, by year:

Age         Level        Position    Games   Errors

17          DOM           SS           67          20
18            RK             SS          54          18                 
19           A-/A+         SS          43          13
                                  2B          64           7              
                                  3B          23           8                            
20           AA              SS          39          8                 
                                  2B          88          13

Schoop has a career fielding % of .951, which is not very good, however, seeing him in the field he's not as bad as it sounds. He has a very strong arm, however, being slightly slower to the ball than other players drives him to hurry the throw to try to hide his slow footwork with his arm. The times I've seen him get in trouble or make errors, he was either slow to the ball laterally and rushed a throw off target, or when he would make a concentration mistake with his glove, such as a bobble, or picking the glove up before the ball gets to it. He has shown that he makes most of the solid plays where he doesn't have to range too far, he's got the arm to make up for some mistakes, but the longer the throw, the less likely that it would be on target. If I had to project him at a position defensively, I would say he's a 2B with a very strong arm. He seems the most comfortable there, however if he is being showcased as a trade chip, leaving him at SS makes the most sense for now to show teams that he can play adequate enough defense there to pair with his very solid bat. 

All in all, Schoop looks to be a good offensive prospect, and while he is still young and can improve, his defense needs some work, mostly his hands, and getting faster footwork, especially in the side to side direction. With 2B a glaring question mark this offseason, Schoop could be a person of interest if he's not traded and would make the offense even more formidable, however with defense given more emphasis in the latter half of the season, that could hurt him in a competition.              


Matt P said...

Thanks for more detail on Schoop. I knew I was slightly off topic so I wasn't expecting a detailed answer.

Honestly, I'm not sure I understand what you think of him. It sounds like he's below average with limited range. Do you think that his range will improve with more practice? If all goes well, could he be a Dan Uggla type?


Jeremy Strain said...

No problem, it gave me good motivation for a new post.

I don't think he'll ever be a gold glover, but I think he could be around average if he focuses on the stuff he can get to and doesn't try to do too much.

Defensively that might not be a bad comp, but I don't think he'll be the same type hitter. More average, less power I think, so then you have to decide if the offense outweighs the limited defense.

He might be able to add a little bit more range if he could improve his footwork, it is just something he would have to work really hard at.