In major need of a big-time spark last night, the Baltimore Orioles got one in a big way from second baseman Jonathan Schoop. With two outs in the fourth inning of a tie game, Schoop absolutely unloaded on a 1-2 cutter from Kansas City Royals’ ace Johnny Cueto.
A 484-foot blast to left field for Schoop, the Orioles’ second baseman trapped in a free safety’s body. Measured by Statcast, Schoop’s blast was the longest non-Coors Field home run of the season. It left the bat with an estimated 111 mph exit velocity. It was a majestic, towering home run — hardly the sort of thing baseball fans expect from a second baseman. Only the Washingon Nationals’ Michael Taylor has hit a longer home run this season — 492 feet, but in the thin Coors Field air.
Schoop showed this type of raw power last year in his rookie season, but was done in by plate discipline issues. He struggled to a .209/.244/.354 line. This year, Schoop has honed his approach at the plate, and the results have been impressive. Limited to just 53 games this year due to a knee injury, Schoop has blasted 10 home runs and driven in 30 to go along with a .300/.330/.517 performance. If not for that knee injury, Schoop would likely lead American League second basemen in nearly all major offensive categories, especially in the power department.
With this type of raw power, and a refined approach at the plate, could very well take hold of the All-Star slot at second base for years to come.