Current Frederick Keys second baseman Jonathon Schoop has been on a tear in August after a rough stretch in July.
Schoop, 19, went 4-5 with a home run in the Keys 13-4 win Friday against the Winston-Salem Dash, 3-5 Saturday. The performance of the Curacao native in August is much more aligned with his potential than the July performance of .214.
Hitting with runners in scoring position is an aspect of the game he has improved on hitting at a .345 clip and has 11 RBI this month. Schoop doesn't take much into making many adjustments he feels he just goes out there everyday and tries to do his job.
"I am just getting hot at the plate," Schoop said. "I don't feel like I change anything up with my approach, I just get on base. It feels good!"
One of the big issues during his extended July slump was that he was swinging at bad pitches and expanding the strike zone. According to Keys manager Orlando Gomez his approach has changed.
"He is really swinging the bat well. Schoop is a really smart player. He is starting to take more pitches and not just swinging at the first one," he said. "He quit chasing bad pitches and is looking for better pitches and he is swinging it. The good thing is that he is using the whole field. At one point all he was doing was pulling the ball trying to hit home runs but he has done well utilizing the whole entire field now."
Schoop is hitting .293 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI this season between low Class-A Delmarva and advanced Class-A Frederick. The batting average is rather impressive because he has only drawn 37 walks this season. The goal for him the rest of the way is to continuing hitting consistently and help lead the Keys to a Carolina League championship.
Defensively The Orioles prospect has improved tremendously and it has to do with the move to second base. In 44 games at second base he has committed only five errors in 224 chances. Schoop tallied 51 errors at shortstop in 165 games and eight errors in 24 contests at third base at the pro level before the move to second.
The majority of the errors Schoop made at shortstop were throwing errors and he believes the move to second base has helped him in every facet of his defensive game.
"I feel better and it's a lot easier and more routine for me to play second base," he said. "It's easier to read the ground balls and requires less range."
Schoop said it was a little harder at third base because the reaction time is shorter and the ball has to be read off the bat quicker.
Schoop has worked with a number of different coaches to help his play defensively at second and he feels that's it is not just about taking the ground balls and catching the ball that makes him successful.
"I feel it has a lot to do with your mindset," Schoop said. "If my mind is not right then I won't be able to make the routine plays that I am expected to make."
Gomez believes that he is still a good shortstop despite the errors and knows he will grow well into that position if he plays it every day.
"He is a kid with great ability and he can play shortstop with the best of them. I think at second base right now it is his best position but if he had to play shortstop every single game you wouldn't lose because he can do it."