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End of the Rope for Schoop?

Patrick Wozniak



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With the trade deadline quickly approaching Twins fans are rightly focused on adding pitching to the major league roster. The offensive is still on a record setting home run pace and has great major and minor league depth, so any offensive additions would be superfluous. However, the Twins may be able to add by subtraction.


Jonathan Schoop may have been the least significant off season offense upgrade the Twins added due to the savvy additions of Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzales. However, the front office still had high hopes for Schoop who was signed on a one year deal. Schoop, of course was an all-star in 2017, when he had a career year with Baltimore slashing .293/.338/.503 for an OPS of .841. He mashed 32 long balls and 105 RBI in a 160 games. Schoop came crashing back down to earth in 2018 with and ugly .682 OPS between Baltimore and Milwaukee. While Falvey and company many have been dreaming of a return to 2017, it certainly wasn’t out of the question to expect something closer to Schoop's career averages.


And to be fair to Schoop this is what he has done. He is currently slashing .256/.305/.458 for an OPS of .763 while playing slightly above average second base. This is even slightly better than Schoop’s career averages. He has been good for 1.5 Bref WAR and by all accounts is a beloved member in the clubhouse. However, while Schoop looked like his former 2017 self coming out of the gate (OPS of .819 through May 31), more recently he has looked like the Schoop of 2018 (OPS of .672 since June 1). More frustrating to fans, Schoop seems to excel in blowout games (how many garbage time HRs has he hit?) while consistently striking out in “clutch” situations. The numbers seem to back up the eye as Schoop is hitting .163/.230/.438 with RISP and .205/.279/.231 in late inning pressure situations. The problem is with a lineup full of power hitters, Schoop becomes a bit redundant, and more importantly the Twins have better options for second base. Plenty of them as it turns out. Let’s take a look.


All Arraez


Luis Arraez has been nothing short of amazing in his first big league stint. He is currently slashing .385/.444/.510 for an OPS of .955. In 29 games he has already accumulated 1.1 Bref WAR. Arraez is obviously playing a bit over his head right now, but he has been a good hitter throughout his minor league career and between AA-AAA this year he hit .344/.409/.401. He is not going to hit .400 or slug over .500 long term but his plate approach is very refreshing. On a team of free swingers and power hitters Arraez looks like a nice table setter and in his short time with the twins has come up with several “clutch” hits. His rather twitchy batting style is also extremely entertaining to watch. Arraez has played all over the field for the Twins, including third base, short stop, and left field, but he is clearly best suited for second base where he has spent the majority of his minor league career. Arraez is firmly implanted as the front runner for second base next year and it is also becoming increasingly apparent that he is the answer now.


The Others


Both Marwin Gonzales and Ehire Adrianza currently appear to be better options than Schoop at second base as well. A large part of the value in both of these players is their versatility, so sticking Arraez at second clearly makes the most sense. However, were something to happen to Arraez both of these players are more than capable of filling in. Both players started the year ice cold so their stats took a bit of a dip because of this (pretty much the opposite of Schoop). Gonzales currently has an OPS of .748 with a 1.9 Bref War and Adrianza has a .788 OPS with a 1.1 Bref War in only 148 plate appearances. If one of them were to fill in at second for Schoop (or Arraez) the other would still be available for the utility role.


What to do with Schoop?


Cutting Schoop is probably ill advised. Although it would give more at bats to the previously mention trio, Schoop has played well enough that cutting him wouldn’t really make sense. Could he be traded for pitching? This is very unlikely as he is on a one-year deal and the Twins will most likely be trading with non-contenders who are uninterested in a rental. There are, however, a couple of long-shot possibilities. One would be a three-way trade with Schoop going to another contender (presumably because of an injuring to the team’s second baseman) and a pitcher from the third non-contending club coming to the twins. Another possibility could be Schoop being a thrown-in to offshoot an incoming player’s salary (similar to the Twins acquiring Logan Forsythe from the Dodgers in the Dozier trade). Again, this is unlikely.


The best course of action is probably just to keep Schoop and relegate him to a bench role with less and less playing time. He could occasionally fill in against lefties and seems like the ideal guy to have around the clubhouse (assuming he doesn’t become bitter about his decreased roll). He would also be a valuable depth piece as we have seen how hard injuries can hit.


What do you think? Should Schoop be our starting second baseman, a role player, or be removed from the team all together?



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I am not sure about this and the other Schoop posts I have seen.  Are we sure that we are not going to start seeing the early season Schoop again?  Unless we have someone who is pushing his way onto the bench Schoop is a good player for us. 

It's pretty perplexing but he was similarly bad in the same situations last year, (granted pretty good the year before though). The thing about "early season Schoop" is that we were winning games by so much that those were the games where he's gotten a lot of his stats, when we already had the games put away. With the team struggling just a bit over the last month plus, he's really contributed nothing on offense and it's become more noticeable as we've struggled too. He's 0-8 with bases loaded which is absurd. You can see his approach fly out the window every time it matters.

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Putting Schoop on the bench against righties and starting him against lefties, makes sense to me.  Still give him a few slots against righties, he could get hot again.  If he continues like this, will have to see if he gets playoff time.

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Schoop is certainly in a funk at the plate.  Even when he does lock in on the pitch he's looking for, he seems to be fouling it more often than not.  I'm hoping he comes out of it, because he's been steady at second with an amazing arm.  Otherwise, he may need to just be on the slight side of a platoon.  I can't see dealing him.


The clutch numbers posted are definitely concerning.


I hope they give Arraez a Polanco contract, because he certainly appears to be the real deal.  He's also fun to watch.

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For this season they will stick with Schoop at 2nd unless he basically gives up. Arreaz will get more time as long as he keeps hitting but Schoop will remain the starter. He is paid to be a starter. Now with the way Arreaz is hitting he may push Schoop once or twice a week into the bench. But Arreaz will get his other at bats moving around the diamond and he will also spend some time on the bench as well.

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I like relegating him to the bench, start Arreaez, and keep Schoop for depth, the one thing you can count on is Schoop striking out when you need him the  most

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When the Twins traded Brian Dozier last year, th Dodgers included Logan Forsythe in the deal. I’d like to see Schoop included in a package to another team like that as part of a trade adding pitching to our squad.

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The reason this team has been successful is its MLB-ready depth. Making trades during the biggest grind of the season will only make the team weaker.

Yeah, I have no problem keeping Schoop around, but I think a reduced roll would be pertinent.

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Of course he homered last night...


But yeah, I've noticed most of his home runs and stats are coming in low-pressure (aka "garbage time") situations. In his defense, the HR last night was a kickstarter and he also had a HR on the road in Tampa that ended up being huge (but wasn't at the time he hit it).


We're not the only ones who see this. He's found his way to the bottom of the order and has seen playing time decrease. I like the idea of starting him vs. lefties, I'd prefer to see him in the lineup 2x per week at this point, no more. His defense is normally good, that error he made against the Mets proved costly though.


He is absolutely awful with men on base and also has the worst "productive outs" rating on the entire team by a long shot. He pretty much is a guaranteed strikeout with anything on the line. He'll swing right through anything in the dirt and anything high and outside with regularity. If I know this, every team in MLB knows this.

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I would trust Arraez today over Schoop if I needed a pressure packed AB...see last night.  With that being said I see him continuing to start over Arraez at least in the short term.  I don't see Arraez rocking the you best play me boat.  Schoop wont be back next year IMO.  TK was on with Reusse last night...TK says the kid just seems to get it.  Normally he likes to see about 2 years of AB'S before coming to that conclusion,  That is a good endorsement!!  

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Excellent blog post. I've been contemplating the situation with Schoop over the last few weeks, and still don't know the right answer...


I concur with you that dealing Schoop for players who won't help in 2019 is probably ill-advised. We don't know who will get injured later this year or who will struggle with performance.


On the flip side...


What if he continues this slide at the plate? He showed last year his slumps can last months, and if he wasn't good enough for Milwaukee's playoff team, why should he be for the Twins? He's primarily 2B and can't really play other positions around the field. Could that bench spot be used on a utility player? Or a better bench bat?


I'm guessing he will stay for the season... Perhaps we'll regret keeping him on the bench if he's used sparingly. Perhaps he finds the sweet stroke again... Fun to think about!

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