Hailing from Aruba, Jonathon Schoop is one of multiple young star infielders from the hub of talent that the island has become. However, if the old adage “you can’t walk your way off the island” still holds true, Schoop is a prime example. Here is a look at Schoop’s walk and strikeout rates through the first three years of his career.
2014 – 2.7% BB, 25.4% K
2015 – 2.8% BB, 24.6% K
2016 – 3.2% BB, 21.2% K
So yeah, the guy takes his hacks. This year, however, the O’s oversized second baseman has made a deliberate attempt to improve his plate discipline. Thus far in 2017, Schoop is walking at a 5.8% clip and striking out 21.4%, which is roughly the same K% he has had in previous years. I know, walking 5.8% of the time is low, but it is a 55.1% increase from his previous career high. Schoop increased his BB% the usual way — by swinging at fewer balls.
By swinging at fewer balls, Schoop has put himself in more hitters counts, which has lead to more hard contact. Schoop has put himself in a 2-0 or 3-1 count 95 times this season, and has a .295 ISO in those situations. In 2016, he worked just 88 such counts. In 2015, that number goes down to just 39. When you put yourself in hitters counts, you get better pitches to hit, and this is no different with Schoop.
With a more advanced approach at the plate, it is no wonder that he has put up a career-best 133 wRC+ and earned his first All-Star nod this season. The crazy thing is that Schoop still has plenty of room to improve.