This is another installment in our series grading the individual performances of the key members of the 2019 Minnesota Twins. Each player will receive a classic grade on the scale of A through F, based on their hitting, fielding, and whatever else the author wants to consider. Check out our other previous installments in the related section below. Today, I’ll be reviewing Jonathan Schoop’s season. Since it is almost Thanksgiving when I am writing this, and therefore I am lazy and do not desire to link 15 (million) others. I have attached a link to Matt’s article on Luis Arraez, which has links to all the others.
The Twins signed Schoop (along with Ronald Torreyes) on a 1-year, 7.5 million-dollar deal back in early December. In 2018, he was traded from Baltimore to Milwaukee at the deadline. When the longtime Baltimore Oriole was signed, he was thought to be a power-hitting second baseman that could play defense, much like Brian Dozier. He also was brought in to be a veteran presence that could help mentor the team’s young core. He did all that and more.
The first bit of Schoop’s season went as planned—he was pretty much as advertised. Schoop’s season changed a ton on May 17. This was the date of Luis Arraez’s big league debut. Before Arraez’s rise, Schoop’s stat line looked like this: .271/.315/.479 (.794) with 6 blasts and 18 RBIs plus 4 HBPs (!?!). The team was also 27-12 when Schoop played in that span.
After Arraez came up, Schoop morphed into the “power bat off the bench” role, and Schoop’s stats looked like this: .249/.298/.471 (.769) with 17 homers and 41 RBIs, which is more like what we originally thought he would do. His ranks among Twins with 190+ ABs:
- 7th in dingers (23)
- 8th in RBIs (59)
- 7th in hits (111)
- 11th in BA (.256)
- 11th in OPS (.777)
- T-1st in HBP (10)
These stats are actually pretty average, considering that he was 6th in at-bats.
As for his defense, he was actually really underrated. Although many people think he is slow, he was in the 60th percentile in Sprint Speed according to Baseball Savant (link). He is a master at making diving stops and throwing from his knees, and he has a great arm for a second baseman. Don’t believe me? Watch some highlights on YouTube.
One of his major skills, though, is his ability to mentor the team’s younger players. Take Luis Arraez for example. Even though he “stole” Schoop’s job, Schoop didn’t seem to care. They became great friends, not rivals. If you watch the games on TV, you often hear Dick and Co. marveling over how “he hits like he’s 40”, and a big part of that is because of Schoop.
Schoop is a free agent currently, and although I doubt many of you share my opinion, I would argue that we should re-sign him. For one, Arraez hasn’t even been in the league for a year yet and still has a lot to learn. He is also one of the biggest and best clubhouse presences you can imagine. Third, there were many times in 2019 that having a power bat on the bench like Schoop benefited the Twins greatly.
All in all, Schoop had a good bounce-back year. I feel like his offense would get a B- and his defense would be a B+, so...
Overall Grade: B
What grade would you give Jonathan Schoop’s 2019 season?