The Orioles may be heading towards a disappointing conclusion to their 2017 season. Some of the team doesn’t deserve much of that blame. The best of the bunch has been second baseman Jonathan Schoop all year, which has earned him recognition as the Most Valuable Oriole for the season.
The MVO award, the full name of which is the Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole award after a longtime Baltimore Sun sportswriter, is voted on by local mainstream media, with three-man ballots and a 5-3-1 point system. Others who received votes, alphabetically: Dylan Bundy, Welington Castillo, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Trey Mancini.
The choice of Schoop was really a no-brainer this season. Schoop leads the O’s in all three batting line categories - batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He leads in both runs scored (88) and runs batted in (105). Schoop also leads in hits (175) and total bases (303) and his 32 home runs are second only to Machado’s 33. With a hot last week, Schoop could pass his buddy and lead in that, too.
Among the things that Schoop has set new career highs in this year are walks, home runs, hits, and RBI. By season’s end, he will have a new high in plate appearances. He’s even set highs for hit by pitches and sacrifice flies and currently has a career-low strikeout percentage of 21.1%.
It all adds up to a team-leading Wins Above Replacement for Schoop, which is either 5.2 if you ask Baseball Reference or 3.9 if you ask Fangraphs. A 4-5 win season is a heck of a good season. No one else on the Orioles was even close to the 25-year-old second baseman.
No surprise that all of that was enough to get Schoop the first All-Star selection of his career. He has kept earning that honor since the break. It’s been fun to watch him this year. Hopefully, we can look forward to something as good or better next year, with tough competition from his teammates as well.
The award will be presented to Schoop prior to Sunday’s game, the last home game of the year for the Orioles.