Eight Big Questions for the 2016 Baltimore Orioles

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles

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Is Jonathan Schoop for real?

If Manny Machado’s 2015 was considered a breakout, what should his minor-league roommate Jonathan Schoop‘s be called? Despite an April injury, Schoop emerged as one of the brightest young second base stars in the American League. In 86 games, he hit 15 home runs and slugged .482. His defense at second base remained solid despite the knee injury. If things continue trending upward for Schoop in 2016, his name could be in the running for the All-Star team.

Was the offensive outburst for Schoop just the result of a small sample size? He batted only .209 as a rookie and barely managed to improve his walk rate last year. Schoop remains a free swinger at the plate. The Orioles do not need him to start taking more free passes (though it would be nice to see him walk more often than once every ten games), but he does need to tighten up his strike zone and stop chasing so many curveballs and changeups. Eighty-six games of great hitting is still a small sample size, and Schoop must show he can do it over a full 162-game schedule. This seems possible, but there are still lingering doubts.

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