Sept. 2 (Update): The Orioles will call up infielder Jonathan Schoop, outfielder Henry Urrutia and right-hander Josh Stinson on Tuesday, per Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports.
Here's what you need to know about Schoop, who ranked as the Orioles' top position prospect and No. 3 overall prospect heading into the 2013 season.
Assigned to Double-A Bowie last year in his age-20 season, Schoop, who was one of the youngest everyday players in the Eastern League, emerged as the Orioles' second baseman of the future by batting .245/.324/.386 with 24 doubles and 14 home runs in 124 games.
After a strong showing for the upstart Dutch in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Schoop jumped to Triple-A Norfolk to begin the season. However, the 21-year-old got off to a sluggish start at the more advanced level and posted a .636 OPS in April. And when it seemed as though Schoop was finally putting things together in mid-May, he was forced to miss the next six weeks with a stress fracture in his back.
Following his return from the disabled list in late July, Schoop had struggled to get going at the plate, batting .245 with 30 strikeouts in 36 games. But with a spot on the Orioles' 40-man roster, he'll now have the chance to get his feet wet in the major leagues over the final month of the season. And if the team officially falls out of the playoff hunt, expect Schoop to be auditioned at second base in anticipation of a potential everyday role in 2014.
Here are my scouting notes on Schoop, who I got an extended look at last year in the Arizona Fall League:
Schoop has solid footwork and defensive actions that will play up due to his instincts; has played both second base and shortstop where he makes the plays but he lacks the agility and quick feet of a high-level defender; consistent glove; arm strength plays at shortstop, but profiles better at second base; average runner who will likely lose a step as he adds strength.
Right-handed hitter who understands how to attack pitches with the barrel; gets bonus points for using no batting gloves; comfortable driving the ball the other way; ball jumps off his bat thanks to strong top hand and extension after contact; slightly above-average power potential; majority of his power is to the pull side; has started to generate more backspin carry as he's moved up the ladder; approach and pitch recognition skills need refinement, but should naturally improve with more experience; has a tendency to bar his front arm and wrap the bat, making him vulnerable to velocity on his hands.
Sept. 1: The Orioles didn’t promote any of their prospects on Sunday, though they did recall Steve Clevenger from Triple-A. A left-handed hitting catcher, Clevenger came to the Orioles in the Scott Feldman trade in July.
While he only batted .199/.262/.275 in 79 games with the Cubs, the 27-year-old has always shown a serviceable-at-worst bat and consistent approach. Over eight seasons in the minor leagues, including 20 games with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate this year, Clevenger has an impressive batting line of .311/.373/.428 and 222/204 K/BB ratio in 227 plate appearances.
However, injuries limited the Baltimore native to only 592 games during those eight years. After making the Cubs’ Opening Day roster this season, it seemed as though Clevenger would finally receive a chance to prove himself in the major leagues. Sadly, but somewhat predictably, he suffered a severe oblique strain on a game-ending strikeout swing in April that resulted in a stint on the 60-day disabled list and ruined his chances of sticking with the Cubs.
With the Orioles, Clevenger will have the chance to be a solid backup to Matt Wieters during the final month of the season and could potentially make a strong case for a similar role with the club in 2014.