SARASOTA, Fla. --In today’s Baltimore Sun, I wrote about Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop, who will leave the team this weekend to play for Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
This is Schoop’s first big league camp. Last year, he made some appearances in games as part of a group of players who came in from minor league camp. So this isn’t entirely new to him.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said this spring that one of the great advantages to having some of the younger prospects in camp is that they can observe firsthand how the veterans carry themselves.
Schoop seems to be no exception. His locker in the clubhouse is next to newcomer infielder Alexi Casilla and designated hitter Wilson Betemit. And talking to Schoop yesterday, he mentioned what he’s learned from being near the veterans.
“Like Betemit told me, ‘Come in early, come in and hit. Let them see you,’” Schoop said. “Let them see you hitting. Let them see that you’re working hard. That’s the thing, get in early. Make sure you know that people are watching. I’ve been listening.”
Betemit, who came up with the Braves as a 19-year-old shortstop, isn’t the most vocal guy in the Orioles clubhouse. He’s pretty quiet. But he’s always going to the cages to hit before games. This spring I’ve seen him walking to hit more often than I’ve seen him at his locker. It’s something that’s easy to overlook, especially because Betemit limited in his role with the team.
But it’s pretty interesting to hear him taking a mentor role with a young player.