Bounce Back or Bust: Now In Minnesota, Will Jonathan Schoop Be A Viable Fantasy Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After a breakout 2017 with the Orioles there were high hopes for Jonathan Schoop entering 2018.  However whether he was playing for Baltimore or Milwaukee (where he landed after a Trade Deadline deal), all Schoop did was disappoint along the way:

  • Orioles (367 PA) – .244, 17 HR, 40 RBI
  • Brewers (134 PA) – .202, 4 HR, 21 RBI

Prior to the trade he at least continued to make consistent contact (20.2% strikeout rate), and while his Hard% wasn’t impressive (26.6%) it’s easy to point towards a .262 BABIP as the reason for his struggles.  Sure the luck was still down after the trade (.259), but the bigger issue was the jump in his strikeout rate to 30.6%.

That regression shouldn’t have come as a surprise, as it’s not like his plate disciple was good prior to the trade (SwStr% // O-Swing%):

  • Orioles – 14.0% // 41.2%
  • Brewers – 18.2% // 48.1%

It’s easy to argue that the Milwaukee numbers came in a somewhat small sample size, though poor plate discipline has been the story of his career.  The owner of a career 15.1% SwStr% and 41.0% O-Swing%, he’s never drawn many walks (3.7% career walk rate) and always was a risk to see his strikeout rate balloon (22.6% for his career).

Schoop particularly struggled against breaking balls (23.61% Whiff%) and offspeed pitches (21.26%), so it makes sense that opposing pitchers only threw him fastballs 58.80% of the time.  That’s been the norm throughout his career and should be expected to continue now that he’s in Minnesota.  Now throw in a consistently bloated popup rate (16.1% career mark) and the picture is somewhat bleak.  While the Milwaukee number may be extreme, he never should be viewed as a strong option for average.

So is there a hope that he can rediscover the power that brought a 32 HR campaign in ’17?  We don’t want to call it solely fueled by his home ballpark, having hit 14 HR on the road that season (and he’s been nearly even over the course of his career, with 58 HR coming at home and 52 on the road).  It also wasn’t like he was benefiting from an unrealistic HR/FB given his 17.7% mark (15.9% for his career).

In fact he wasn’t that far off the pace he set in ’17, considering he had 473 AB in ’18 (compared to 622 in ’17).  Playing in Minnesota is going to have a negative impact, as it’s not viewed as being very conducive to power, but it’s not enough to ignore him.

If he was producing an at least solid AVG or OBP we’d be more anxious to grab him.  Any 2B who could hit 25+ HR is going to have value, but that doesn’t give him elite upside.  Last season there were six second baseman who hit at least 23 HR and all of them hit at least .261 (and that doesn’t include players like Jose Altuve, Yoan Moncada or Rougned Odor).  There’s going to be value in Schoop, but he’s more of a low-end option than someone to depend on as a bounce back candidate.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18

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