DAT ARM! It's a phrase I've used often to describe Jonathan Schoop's throws while turning a double play. Of course, in Schoop's case, it's not just his arm, it's his footwork as well. Schoop was the de facto starting second baseman for the orioles for his glove, not his bat, because...
OOF! That was the reaction many an O's fan had while watching Schoop swing and miss at yet another ball out of the zone. Adam Jones may get a pass because of the sheer amount of balls out of the zone he manages to hit, but Schoop swings ... and misses. A lot. He's historically swung at more than 40% of the pitches he sees outside the strike zone. Throw him a ball, and you've got a 4-in-10 chance Jonathan Schoop was going to swing at it in 2014. Add in the 70% of the time he swung at actual strikes, and you've got yourself a bona fide free swinger.
The problem in 2014 was he didn't often actually get a hit despite all those swings. He slashed .209/.244/.354 with a 65 wRC+ and a 67 OPS+. Sure, the 16 home runs were nice out of a second basemen with 455 ABs who can play third base in a pinch, but even including his defense, Schoop was worth a mere 0.6 Wins Above Replacement according to FanGraphs.
How big a disparity was there in his glove and bat? Consider that BaseballReference had his glove worth 1.8 WAR and his bat worth 0.2.
In the playoff series versus Detroit, he was certainly useful, going 3-for-10 for a .300 AVG, balancing a walk against a strikeout, and adding a double and a stolen base with two RBI. Like much of the team, he struggled against Kansas City, garnering just one hit in 13 ABs.
Compared to the rest of the second basemen in the American League who had at least 400 ABs, Schoop put up by far the worst offensive numbers in the league. He was 13th out of 13 in OBP, 9th out of 13th in SLG, and 7th out of 13 in WAR according to ESPN. That glove and that arm do come in handy.
So what can we expect out of Jonathan Schoop in 2015? Well, the second base job is likely his to lose in Spring Training, if it's even possible for him to lose it. Steamer projects a bit of an uptick in offense, projecting a 0.9 WAR next year over this year's 0.6 WAR on FanGraphs.
We can look forward to that cannon being unleashed, the footwork to amaze, and hopefully, the bat to get just a little bit better. And considering he's AL average right now with his bat being trash, we might just have a superior second baseman under team control for a few years to come.