Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop had his breakout season. If he can repeat that performance in 2017, he can be a top-10 second baseman.
The Baltimore Orioles had a powerful offense throughout the 2016 season. They had three batters hit at least 37 home runs. The team also received help from an unlikely player. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop had a career year and could do it again in 2017. If so, he will easily be a top-10 second baseman next season.
Schoop played just five games in 2013, but exceeded his rookie status in 2014 when he played in 135 games. His 2015 season was cut short when he partially tore PCL and sprained MCL on April 17 and missed 71 games.
Schoop came back stronger than ever this season. He played in all 162 games, only one of three players to do so. He hit 25 home runs, 82 RBI and .267. Schoop also scored 82 times, but struck out 137 times, resulting in a .298 on-base percentage.
He did sacrifice some contact for power, he it .279/.306/.482 last season. But, for fantasy owners, they will clearly take the extra power numbers any day. He finished as the No. 86 hitter on the Player Rater.
As a 22nd round pick, 20th second baseman drafted, you could do a lot worse.
Schoop spent most of the season hitting in the bottom-third of the batting order. But, with Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis in front of him, he had plenty of opportunities to get on base and drive in runs.
He did spend 29 games hitting in the No. 2 spot. In those games, he hit .315 with seven home runs, 17 RBI and 19 runs scored. That was the best batting average from any spot in the batting order he had, not counting the one game as the No. 3 hitter.
Schoop did have better power numbers from the No. 8 spot, seven homers and 23 RBI.
In my preliminary rankings, Schoop comes in as my No. 12 second baseman. Of the players ranked ahead of him, I definitely see at least two that can struggle to make room for Schoop.
If the Orioles can retain all of their players this offseason, this will be a dangerous offense. I don’t expect Schoop to play another 162 games, but without any injury, he could get real close. I project 23 home runs, 83 RBI, 84 runs, and a .270 average. That could get him close to the top 10, if not in it.