by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Jonathan Schoop enjoyed one of the biggest breakout campaigns of 2017, far exceeding expectations that anyone could’ve had. Were the results “real” or should owners be expecting a significant regression in 2018? That’s likely a polarizing question, so let’s start off by looking at last season’s numbers before trying to reach a conclusion:
622 At Bats
.293 Batting Average (182 Hits)
32 Home Runs
1 Stolen Base
.338 On Base Percentage
.503 Slugging Percentage
.330 Batting Average on Balls in Play
The biggest question hanging over Schoop is his plate discipline, despite putting up solid strikeout rates over the past two seasons (21.2% and 21.0%). He did take a step forward last season, but even the “improved” marks don’t inspire much confidence:
- SwStr% – 16.2% to 13.8%
- O-Swing% – 43.0% to 37.1%
There were some positive signs, specifically an improved Whiff% against offspeed pitches (28.52% to 19.74%), though that’s still an unattractive mark and he took a step backwards after the All-Star Break (14.3% SwStr% and 39.5% O-Swing%). The metrics led to a lot of popups (16.0%) and a fairly pedestrian line drive rate (20.9%). Couple those things with a lack of extreme speed and the BABIP becomes hard to buy into. Even if you think he can maintain the strikeout rate, which isn’t impossible, it’s hard to buy into him being able to maintain the average.
That’s not to say that he’s going to be a .220 hitter, because he’s proven that he can make contact despite his approach. Just don’t go in knowing what the risk is.
Helping matters is his home runs, as no one ever doubted Schoop’s power potential. He added 35 doubles last season, a year after putting up 64 extra base hits. It would be easy to give credit to his home ballpark, but that wouldn’t be fair:
- Home – 18 HR
- Road – 14 HR
The fact is that he can hit the ball out of any ballpark, and there’s every reason to believe that he will be in the 30 HR range once again.
While it would give him the total package if he could chip in 10+ SB, that’s simply not his game. Still, he’s a proven four-category producer who should continue to hit in the middle of a productive lineup (346 AB hitting third in ’17) and that’s an enviable spot to be in.
Put that all together and you get this projection for 2018:
.272 (163-600), 29 HR, 90 RBI, 85 R, 2 SB, .314 BABIP, .311 OBP, .478 SLG
In OBP formats he’s going to take a slight hit in value, and the overall numbers are expected to be down from a year ago. That said would anyone complain about this type of production from a second baseman? Maybe he’s not quite as good as he was in ’17, but an aberration he is not.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: