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Did Schoop Work for the 2019 Twins?

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 18 November 2019 · 1,570 views

minnesota twins jonathan schoop luis arraez
In early December 2018 the Minnesota Twins found their replacement for Brian Dozier. With the fan-favorite having been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to his free agency, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine needed to find another second basemen. Replacing Dozier’s pop wouldn’t be easy, but they tabbed a former All Star to do so when they inked Jonathan Schoop to a one-year deal. Now with the season behind us we can evaluate how it turned out.

At the time of his signing I wasn’t too terribly interested in the pact. Dozier provided a significant amount of power, but also displayed strong on-base skills. For a Twins team also losing Joe Mauer, getting guys that could fill the basepaths seemed like a must. Schoop owned just a career .294 OBP and he was coming off a poor .682 OPS. After being dealt from the Orioles to the Brewers for the stretch run, things got even worse.

Obviously, it was the goal of Minnesota to rekindle the 25-year-old All Star that picked up MVP votes in 2017. He’d played all but two games from 2016-2017 and could be counted on as an everyday contributor. Although range wasn’t his greatest asset at second base, there was a howitzer attached to his shoulder and the arm would help to substantially upgrade the defense that Dozier brought to the position for the Twins.

We didn’t know that Major League Baseball was going to juice the pill for 2019, but it helped a guy like Schoop to launch dingers at a relatively significant rate. With so many power hitters around him in the lineup however, his skillset became somewhat redundant and the emergence of Luis Arraez made him replaceable. The 23 longballs in just 121 games was plenty respectable, and the .777 OPS checked in as the second highest mark over the course of a full big-league season. At the end of the day though, it was the .304 OBP that likely did him in.

The bulk of his 2019 was spent batting in the final three spots of the lineup. Even outside of run production lineup positioning, Schoop became a punchline due to the times in which he would come through. Late and close situations saw him post just a .658 OPS while he owned just a .618 OPS with runners in scoring position and two outs. By leverage, he was at his best (.813 OPS) in the lowest stress scenarios. If you needed a hollow home run it seemed that Schoop became a lock.

Having just turned 28 there is plenty of runway ahead for the Curacao native. It obviously won’t be with the Twins, and I’m not entirely sure he’s rebuilt his value on the back of his 2019 exploits. Power at second base isn’t exactly guaranteed, but the sport has also shifted much more towards an on-base production model. It was that skill Minnesota appeared to need most, and ultimately that downfall that led to him being replaced.

There’s no reason to categorize the $7.5 million Minnesota handed to Schoop as foolish, but I think we can effectively say it worked out as planned. That’s a bit more than you’d like for a replaceable asset, but given the dollars paid to Arraez it should be considered as a wash. Minnesota’s offense was otherworldly in 2019, and whatever Schoop provided became a relative footnote.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • Oldgoat_MN, Dman and nclahammer like this



If the Twins could get Dozier to sign for dirt cheap...
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Ted Schwerzler
Nov 18 2019 11:06 AM

 

If the Twins could get Dozier to sign for dirt cheap...

I'm not sure where that comes from in relation to this piece? Also, Minnesota already has their starting 2B.

    • Dman, bighat and In My La-Z-boy like this

Considering Brian Dozier got a bigger contract with Washington, the Twins did pretty good. The thought of Schoop being more than a stopgap...naw. At best, he could've been a tradable asset in July, but because of the team's standing it didn't happen. He is still young and rebuilt his career a bit. Should be able to land a decent multi-year contract, but not with the Twins.

 

A good signing. Didn't cost you anything but money.

 

    • beckmt, Oldgoat_MN, Dman and 4 others like this

"We didn’t know that Major League Baseball was going to juice the pill for 2019, but it helped a guy like Schoop to launch dingers at a relatively significant rate."

 

I don't think we can say Schoop hit 23 homeruns solely because of the baseball.

 

He hit 23 in 433 AB.That is pretty much the same as his 2017 32 in 622 AB (5.3% vs 5.1%).

 

The "juiced ball" is a crutch that isn't really used in a balanced matter.Schoop hit homeruns at a close clip to what he has done in the past but he is seen as a juiced ball beneficiary.While Garver more than quadrupled his homerun rate from his previous high (2.3% vs 9.9%) and the baseball is never mentioned in describing his breakout. I'm guessing the baseball had very little to do in either case but it seems to only be used to enforce beliefs that people already had about players..."At the time of his signing I wasn’t too terribly interested in the pact."

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Ted Schwerzler
Nov 18 2019 12:33 PM

 

"We didn’t know that Major League Baseball was going to juice the pill for 2019, but it helped a guy like Schoop to launch dingers at a relatively significant rate."

 

I don't think we can say Schoop hit 23 homeruns solely because of the baseball.

 

He hit 23 in 433 AB.That is pretty much the same as his 2017 32 in 622 AB (5.3% vs 5.1%).

 

The "juiced ball" is a crutch that isn't really used in a balanced matter.Schoop hit homeruns at a close clip to what he has done in the past but he is seen as a juiced ball beneficiary.While Garver more than quadrupled his homerun rate from his previous high (2.3% vs 9.9%) and the baseball is never mentioned in describing his breakout. I'm guessing the baseball had very little to do in either case but it seems to only be used to enforce beliefs that people already had about players..."At the time of his signing I wasn’t too terribly interested in the pact."

It's also a full percentage higher than where he was at in 2018. Garver's rise was helped from the ball no doubt, but also in systemic changes he made to his swing, rotation, and launch angle. Without looking into the output from Schoop's batted ball trajectories year over year, I'll wear your criticism. Being uninterested in a guy lacking any OBP prowess was where the initial stance came from, and a reality that ultimately lost him his starting role...

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IndianaTwin
Nov 18 2019 06:40 PM

Context: 

1. When Schoop was signed in December 2018, Sano had offseason question marks, having had the traffic incident with a cop and had missed the end of the 2018 season.

2. At the point Schoop was signed, Gordon was not considered ready, and Arraez wasn't generally seen as an option. Without those, Gonzalez was probably their best option at 2B.

3. Sano would miss the first part of the season, meaning Gonzalez had to fill 3B for the first month and a half.

4. When Sano returned on May 16, Schoop had started 36 of 42 games at 2B, allowing Gonzalez to start 30 of 42 games at 3B.

5. Through those 42 games, Schoop's OPS was .823. That's impressive production from (mostly) the 7 hole on a team that would have an .833 OPS for the year in a league where the average OPS was .762.

6. Though Schoop would only start 64 of the remaining 120 games at 2B, he still ended up with an above-league average .783. His presence allowed Arraez and Gonzalez to move around, spelling others and allowing the team to start someone other than Cave when Buxton got hurt.

 

So no, Schoop didn't carry the team offensively, but he wasn't asked to. What he did do was fill a significant hole without tying up future money. And from what I can tell, while playing well defensively. I also don't recall hearing anything negative about him as a clubhouse presence.

 

I don't know what their other options were on the free agent market at the time, but I think it worked out quite well. 

    • Oldgoat_MN, adorduan, Platoon and 2 others like this
At the time of the Schoop signing they probably got the best they could. He improved a leaky IF, and replaced some of Doziers power, which in hindsight was never missed in the first place. But I also wonder IF the bounce factor of MLB baseball returns to the land of reality in 2020 it will be interesting to see of the reduced HR numbers by numerous players will be treated with as much despondency as the increase this last year was treated with such enthusiasm? Players have definitely used different techniques to improve their HR rate. Today it's using analytics and training to adjust your swing. Yesterday it would have been called "swinging outa yur a*^ on every pitch" :).
    • Ted Schwerzler likes this
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theBOMisthebomb
Nov 19 2019 06:21 AM
The Schoop signing seemed to work just as Falvine must have wanted it to. Schoop came in, was dependable for a season, and the Twins found their guy for 2020 and beyond in Arraez.
    • Oldgoat_MN, bighat and sloopjont like this
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stringer bell
Nov 19 2019 07:49 AM

At the end of May, I said that Schoop had been inconsequential, since his offensive production was almost completely done when the Twins were comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind in games. He provided some key hits and defensive plays, but mostly remained inconsequential as mostly a spare part after Arraez was promoted. He was, by all reports, a good teammate and a positive presence. Good luck to him in 2020 and beyond.

    • bighat and sloopjont like this
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Ted Schwerzler
Nov 19 2019 09:04 AM

 

The Schoop signing seemed to work just as Falvine must have wanted it to. Schoop came in, was dependable for a season, and the Twins found their guy for 2020 and beyond in Arraez.

It seems that I didn't do a great job of outlining my positioning and this is a solid summary. Schoop didn't distance himself from the low-OBP guy he's always been, and his offense wasn't great overall. He did hold down the position until a long-term suitor emerged, and provided plenty of value on a one-year deal.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
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Don Walcott
Nov 19 2019 09:33 AM

I agree that the move worked out for the Twins, and we should move on without any regrets. Schoop was good defensively, and was what you would expect offensively. He also seemed like a good guy who was not only a good teammate, but was willing to take a back seat to Arraez with minimum fuss. And now that we have Arraez penciled in at 2nd, he's no longer needed.

 

I will say that I was disappointed that he didn't start Game 1 against the Yanks. But even if we won that game, it wouldn't change the fact that we're moving on with Arraez at 2nd, and some healthy competition for that spot internally as well.

Seeing Schoop play 2b made me wonder why he wasn't a Thirdbaseman ?He has a wonderful arm and seems to be quick enough for the hot corner.If I was a team looking for a solid hitting 2nd or 3rd baseman, I'd give Schoop a call.:)

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

 

Seeing Schoop play 2b made me wonder why he wasn't a Thirdbaseman ?He has a wonderful arm and seems to be quick enough for the hot corner.If I was a team looking for a solid hitting 2nd or 3rd baseman, I'd give Schoop a call.:)

He can turn a nice triple play.

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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 19 2019 06:05 PM

To me, he was worth it. Arraez and Gordon weren't ready to be counted on going into 2019. He actually was pretty good for the first couple months. I'm not sure if it was injury or what, but he definitely fell off a cliff as time went on, which allowed Arraez the chance to take that job...

 

So yeah, worth it... overpriced for what we got?Probably a bit. But the deal made sense for both sides.

It could have been DJ LeMahieu that was signed! A way better choice, even with Arraez, which is still a question, with little power. Oh well. Looking forward. Schoop was signed with great hope. Too bad he couldn't return to his previous form. He was part of the early mix, and had his time..... so I would say he didn't really hurt, and didn't really help. Do they call that a replacement player?

Schoop didn't get as much playing time as anticipated but I feel he slightly outperformed expectations. I was hoping for a .750 OPS and he did better. Was fine defensively and we knew about the low obp. That was baked into the cake. I am happy with what he did and he was also a great sport about Arreaz taking playing time away from him. That speaks volumes of his character and him as a team mate and team player.