The Emerging Jonathan Schoop
With his stellar performance at the plate and in the field Jonathan Schoop has vaulted Mark Trumbo among the Orioles position player WAR leader board to tied for second place with Chris Davis. Schoop in 92 games this season is hitting .298/.331/.514 with a 122 wRC+, and that’s not even mentioning a positive defensive contribution at second base.
A while back in one of these other notebooks I looked at some player’s lines over their last 162 games, including Jonathan Schoop, so I wanted to check back in and see what that line looks like now.
Over his last 162 games, Schoop is batting .290/.320/.490 with a 114 wRC+. This includes 40 doubles and 26 home runs. All from a plus defensive second baseman. That is truly spectacular. The second base position is oddly stacked these days, especially in the American League with the likes of Jose Altuve, Robinson Cano, Jason Kipnis, and Dustin Pedroia.
However, Schoop still finds himself in that company and is only getting better as he gets more experience in the major leagues. Everyone likes to fret about Manny Machado’s extension, but his buddy on the team could see a big payday as well.
Adam Jones’ struggles
Adam Jones after a hot June has cooled back off in July. His line for 2016 currently sits a .262/.308/.474 good for a 97 wRC+ and just a bit worse than his line last season which was his worst overall line since 2011. Thus far in July, Jones has hit .238/.262/.317 as the entire Orioles offense has gone anemic.
This is two straight years where, to date, Jones has not been his normal self. So, like with Schoop I wanted to look at Jones’ last 162 games to see where he stands now.
Over his last 162 games Jones has hit .255/.293/.453 good for a 97 wRC+. Still having solid power production with 29 doubles and 34 home runs and a.198 ISO over that time. The big shift down has been with his batting average which in turn has caused his on base percentage to plummet because, well, as you all know Adam Jones isn’t about taking walks.
His hard hit, medium hit, and soft hit rates are all in line with career averages and since there is only two years of batted ball speed data not much comparison can be made to previous years. The only thing difference is his batting average on balls in play (BABIP). It is .269 over his last 162 and is only up to .279 this season.
Jones has a career BABIP of .309 and from has never had a BABIP below .304 until last season. There are lots of reasons for BABIP to fluctuate, but nothing sticks out. Maybe a reduction in foot speed or all the injuries that have piled up over the last season and a half have finally ground him down. Otherwise, maybe it’s just an extended run of bad luck.
Some trade deadline thoughts
As the trade deadline approaches rapidly the rumor mill is going to start spinning out of control. The Orioles lack real chips to play with. They could deal from the top of their farm system, but it’s already bleak and with Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters due for free agency and a Manny Machado extension discussion looming the Orioles are going to need all the minimum salary players they can get the next couple of seasons.
With no real prospects to deal from, I think the Orioles should add to strengths. A quality bench bat and a quality possible multi inning reliever could really add some needed depth. His name was floating around on Twitter the other day so it has stuck with me, Jeremy Jeffress or someone like him. With O’Day coming back, the bullpen could cover up a lot of the rotation problems with one more solid reliever.
Having a stable of five relievers to trust in high leverage situations gives a manager a lot of flexibility. The last two bullpen spots could be relievers/starters to piggy back off the last two rotation spots with Tillman, Gausman, and Gallardo taking up the other three.
That strategy probably works better with eight relievers, but the Orioles have a little over a month to get to September and expanded rosters. They could patch it together and still have a full bench.
As for a bench bat, I say go get Steve Pearce back. Pearce is annihilating the ball this year for Tampa Bay hitting .324/.393/.553 with a 157 wRC+. On a one year deal, he could be pretty cheap and we know the Orioles love him.
The offense carries this team (see their July record) so adding to it could only make the team better. He can DH, play first, play second, or play a corner outfield spot. Maybe I just want it to happen because of my love for Steve Pearce, but whatever it makes sense just trust me.