Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Schoop on DL Leaves a Void


Apr 13, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) hits a rbi double during the second inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The loss of Jonathan Schoop to a knee injury is simply not good news at all for the Baltimore Orioles. There is a void that will be difficult to fill. This is especially true with J.J. Hardy still out for the foreseeable future. So far, that loss has not been too terribly felt with the reasonably solid play of Everth Cabrera. But it is asking a lot to fill in both middle infield positions.

Simply looking at the defensive side of the game, though Ryan Flaherty can likely field as well, he does not have the same arm for turning double plays in clutch situations (not to say that Flaherty is not an above-average defender).

On the offensive side, the addition of Jimmy Paredes would appear to be a very effective replacement, but that would be giving up a great deal in the field. If you could have Flaherty’s defense and Paredes’ offense in one player, you’d really have something.

Will Paredes continue the offensive production we saw in spring training? The optimist says “yes,” because he came right back to the team and was 2-for-5 with a run scored in his first game. The pessimist says “not likely in the long term, or else he would have done it somewhere else before this time.”  Both are imaginable, and I suspect we will see a rotation of the three players mentioned here to cover the two middle infield positions.

But what if the Orioles need to go deeper into the organization at some point? And how long will Schoop be out?

Regarding the second question, there seems to be mixed signals from the Orioles’ camp. And maybe it is simply too early to say with any confidence. There are the remarks about him simply “rehabbing in Sarasota,” beginning in a few days. That does not sound so bad. But with Buck saying something about hoping to have him back yet this season; that sounded troublesome.

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So if the Orioles had to go deeper, the two players getting most of the starts in the middle infield in Norfolk are Paul Janish and Jayson Nix. The early numbers and not good. Janish is 6-for-34 (.176), while Nix is 7-for-36 (.194). At AA Bowie, Derrik Gibson is 9-for-39 at second base, while Ozzie Martinez is 8-for-39 at shortstop (.205). There is also Rey Navarro, who is on the DL as well.

Looking at the immediate options in the high minors, the Orioles had better hope that Cabrerra, Flaherty and Paredes can make it work sufficiently until J.J. Hardy can join actively.

It is truly a shame to see this situation befall Jonathan Schoop. Like Matt Wieters a year ago, he was off to a great start and looking like the player he was advertised to be. He was 7-for-27 with three home runs and seven RBIs.

Between Schoop and Manny Machado, crossing first base successfully appears to be one of the larger risks in baseball. I believe there really is something to be said for the first base bag such as is in some softball leagues – with a double bag, part in fair territory and partly in foul ground. These are multi-million dollar investments playing the game.

One thing for sure – the Yankees will be pleased to see that Schoop is gone.

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