15 November 2011

2012 Top 25 Prospects: #3 Jonathan Schoop

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Player: Jonathan Schoop
Position: third base/second base
Ht/Wt: 6-1/185
B/T: R/R
Age at 11/2011: 20y1m
2011 level(s): A Delmarva; Advanced-A Frederick
2011 statistics: Baseball-reference; Minor League Central

Grades - Now (Future):
Hit: 40/45 (55)
Power: 40 (50/55)
Arm: 55/60 (60)
Defense: 45 (50/55)
Speed: 40 (40)
Feel: 50 (55/60)
Overall Future Potential: 56-59
Prospect Grade: B+

*Click here for primer on Grades

Signed as an international free agent in 2008 out of Curacao, and the highest ranked international prospect in Camden Depot's four years of prospect coverage. Among the youngest players in the Class A South Atlantic League and the Advanced-A Carolina League. Selected to the 2011 MLB Futures Game, International Team, participating during 2011 All-Star Weekend.

Physical Description:
Medium build with even distribution. Potential to add core weight and trunk weight, which will keep him a below-average runner. Will tighten physique as he continues to mature. When all is said and done, could resemble Chase Utley or Evan Longoria build, depending on how things fill out.

Schoop benefits from maintaining a compact path from load through contact, which allows him to deliver an economically accelerated barrel to the ball. As his trunk and core thicken, he is generating more and more bat speed and manifesting more and more in-game power. He will continue to improve consistency in his balance and weight transfer, which will aid him in squaring off-speed offerings from more advanced arms. As with many younger bats, he needs to do a better job identifying pitches, but he is already reasonably advanced at spotting hitter friendly situations and adjusting his approach accordingly. His offensive ceiling is a bit lower that that of Machado, as he lacks Manny's plate coverage and bat speed. Still, Schoop may be a slightly safer bet to hit at the highest level, given his knack for contact and compact cuts, and plenty of managers would take Schoop over Machado if they need a "right now" at bat.

Schoop has athleticism to spare and were it not for below-average foot speed he might even project to shortstop as a Major Leaguer. His footwork and arm strength play-up at third base, but his highest value is as an offensive-minded second baseman. He is comfortable in his skin and moves easily around the bag as well as while ranging to his left and right. He sees the field well and should be a solid to above-average defender at either the five- or four-spot.

The fall-off between Machado and Schoop is less than the fall-off between Bundy and Machado from a ranking standpoint, but all three are potential above-average first division regulars with star upside. For Schoop, the difference maker will likely be the development of his power tool, which projects well but will be dependent upon how his physicality manifests.

If he can continue to increase core strength without getting too bottom heavy, Schoop could be an above-average defender at second base with mid-20s homerun power. Conversely, he could see a jump in core/trunk strength limiting his side-to-side agility but bumping his power grade up to 30-homerun potential.

Additionally, Schoop signifies the type of potential Latin American impact talent that has been sorely missing in the Baltimore system over the past ten-plus years. Continued success for him and Machado up-the-middle could be a boon for the Orioles, particularly if the two of them are able to provide above-average power production for the middle-infield slots.

Ceiling: Above-average second baseman on first division team
Floor: Fringe-average third baseman on first division team
Projected: Solid average second baseman on first division team

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