Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Schoop belongs in AL MVP conversation

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 01: Jonathan Schoop
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 01: Jonathan Schoop /

The Baltimore Orioles picked up a thrilling, 13-inning victory on Friday night, with a key defensive play and the game-winning RBI both by Jonathan Schoop.

In case you haven’t noticed, Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop is putting up numbers not typically seen by a second baseman. He is putting up MVP-type numbers, and it is time to include him in the conversation for American League MVP.

Buck Showalter commented about Schoop’s candidacy Friday night, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports. Dan Connolly of also discussed why Schoop deserves to be in the conversation. A recent Fangraphs article looked at just how good Schoop has been, and how his approach has aided in that. I couldn’t agree more.

Schoop is currently hitting .307/.353/.542 with 30 home runs, 101 RBIs, 31 doubles, 82 runs scored and 158 hits. His WAR is currently 4.9, with his offensive WAR at 4.8 and his defensive WAR at 0.5. He is currently 48 runs above replacement level.

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Defensively, he has turned 108 double plays, has 282 put outs and 364 assists, with 13 errors. He has a .980 fielding percentage. His range factor per nine innings is above average (5.04 vs. 4.37)

Also, the first-time All-Star was the AL Player of the Week in late July. But where does he rank versus some of the other MVP candidates, and who are the other MVP candidates?

It seems the leading candidates are Jose Altuve and Mike Trout. Trout’s numbers are less because of missing six weeks due to injury. Other names possibly worth considering would be Carlos Correa and Jose Ramirez.

Schoop is tenth in WAR in the American League (all rankings for AL only), with Altuve leading the way and Trout in fourth. Offensive WAR has Altuve first at 7.1, followed by Trout at 6.2 and Schoop at 4.8 Defensive WAR has Andrelton Simmons of the Angels leading, with Schoop, Trout and Altuve not on the list.

Altuve leads the American League in average at .355, followed by Trout at .329. Schoop is fifth, with Eric Hosmer and Avisail Garcia in between.

Trout leads in on-base percentage, followed by Altuve and Aaron Judge. Judge has fallen off significantly in the second half, and while he is still a contender, is playing his way out of the MVP race, not into it.

Trout is first in slugging percentage, with Altuve fifth and Schoop ninth. Only Rougned Odor has played in more games in the American League (134) than Schoop’s 133.

In runs scored, Judge leads, with Altuve third behind his Houston teammate, George Springer and Schoop in 10th. Altuve is first in hits at 179, followed by Elvis Andrus, Eric Hosmer and then Schoop is fourth with 158. In addition, Altuve also leads in total bases at 285, but Schoop is right on his heels at 279.

Jose Ramirez leads in doubles, with Altuve eighth with 35, and Schoop off the top 10 with 31.

Schoop is tied for tenth in home runs with his Orioles teammate, Manny Machado, with Judge and Joey Gallo leading at 37. Schoop is second in RBIs with 101, trailing only Nelson Cruz‘s 103. Altuve is tied for the AL lead in stolen bases as well with 29.

Schoop also leads all second basemen in put outs and assists for and is second to Rougned Odor in double plays turned. Does Schoop have a case? You can certainly argue he does, but I think Altuve and Trout are pretty clearly still ahead of him.

Altuve is having a fantastic year, and Trout’s numbers would likely be all the more impressive was he not hurt. If Altuve were to go into a massive slump, a lot of it might come down to whether the Angels or the Orioles make the playoffs.

Big time players make big time plays at big moments. Jonathan Schoop has done that all year for the Baltimore Orioles.