Orioles: Second Year Players Huge Pieces So Far


Apr 10, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles second baseman

Jonathan Schoop

(6) celebrates with catcher

Caleb Joseph

(36) after hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Toronto Blue Jays defeated Baltimore Orioles 12-5. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles have got great starts from two players who the team knew would be good major league hitters, but both struggled in 2014.

If I asked you who is second in batting average on the Orioles, who would you guess? Delmon Young? Nope, not him. And not Travis Snider either.  The correct answer is Caleb Joseph.

Everyone with the Orioles knew that Caleb Joseph was a great hitter in the minor leagues. However, the question was whether he would ever make it to the major leagues, because of his lack of defense.

Then, he started strong last year in Norfolk, and was called upon when Matt Wieters was lost for the season. And while Joseph certainly took his lumps at the plate, he also had a stretch of five straight games with a home run during the summer, the longest stretch by an Oriole catcher.

He finished with a .207 average, 9 HR, 9 2B. But, he also threw out an astounding 40 percent of people who were trying to steal. The best number in all of baseball.

In 2015, Joseph has started hot, with a .375 average, 2 2B, 1 3B and 2 RBIs. Joseph has been putting in the work, and looks much better at the plate this year.

Now, if you asked who was second on the team in home runs (Adam Jones leads in both categories), what would your guess be? Alejandro De Aza? Nope.  Steve Pearce, not him either.  The correct answer is Jonathan Schoop.

Manager Buck Showalter talked all spring long about how Schoop was filling out his body.  When he came up, Jonathan may have been a little thin.

Well, Schoop certainly has gained more power.  Jonathan had never hit more home runs at one level in a season than he did last year with the Orioles, where he hit 16 home runs.  But, he also struck out a lot, and hit to a .209 average in his first full season.

More from Baltimore Orioles

But, everyone expected Schoop to get better.  And that he has. The 23-year-old has 3 home runs, 7 RBIs, 1 2B and a .292 batting average so far.

Last year, everyone saw the power, from both Schoop’s bat and his arm at second base.  No matter how bad the offense was, Schoop was a fantastic option at 2B.  He only made four errors there, and his rifle arm helped make numerous outs that other players would not have made.

Now, Jonathan is driving the ball, being more selective and also playing great defense.

The improvement of these two players is not a surprise to Buck Showalter, but could play a huge role in the Orioles’ success this year.

Next: Adam Jones carrying the Orioles

More from The Baltimore Wire