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Five Orioles stats that stand out as starters begin to get more playing time

Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop during spring training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop during spring training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Coming out of the Orioles' lone day off during their Grapefruit League schedule, what better time than now to check in on some of the more fun stats to emerge this spring training? Most of them are positive indicators for success from some players who might not be considered stars, while others might be a bit more concerning. Here are five stats that stand out with 21 games of the Orioles' exhibition schedule now behind us.

.994 – Let's start going nuts about Jonathan Schoop, please. All the Orioles second baseman did last season, which he lost half of to a knee injury, was raise his batting average to .279 with an admittedly high batting average on balls in play (BABIP) and boost his OPS from .598 to .788. He also hit 15 home runs in 86 games, a year after hitting 16 in 136 games. And he's been one of the more consistent Orioles this spring, hitting for power and actually drawing walks — two in 40 at-bats after walking once every 36 at-bats last year. Maybe some caution should be exercised before we actually go nuts about someone, but when there are as many positive indicators as the last two years have held for Schoop, it's not clear much caution is warranted.

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.471 – After a miserable 0-for-23 start to his Grapefruit League campaign, left fielder Hyun Soo Kim is 8-for-17 since. In that span, he's shown more of the approach and contact ability that made him appealing to the Orioles to begin with. He's letting fastballs get deeper instead of cheating to try to pull them, resulting in hard contact to the opposite field that doesn't fit in with the rest of the Orioles' power, but doesn't have to. He's still searching for his first extra-base hit, but if he can get on base regularly with the approach he's shown in the last week or so, things might not be all bad with Kim.

.317 – Manager Buck Showalter talks often about the conditions in Florida, with the breezes blowing out and hot air allowing balls to carry. But that could just be the Orioles' opposition. Opponents are hitting .317 against the Orioles, the highest opponent average against in the majors this spring. Opponents' .503 slugging percentage ranks second-highest in baseball. The Orioles, playing in the same conditions as those opponents, are batting .250 (27th in baseball) with a .397 slugging percentage (26th).

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Two – A lot of scouts will say if you show him a guy who doesn't make errors, he'll show you a guy who can't throw. Some of the game's best fielders end up charged with errors because they try to make unrealistic throws, but Manny Machado has two errors on misplaying relatively simple ground balls this spring. He's also been relatively spectacular on the hard plays, as evidenced by his casually amazing throw Sunday. But for the Platinum Glove-winning third baseman, we're seeing that as the saying goes, it's spring training for everybody.

7.76 – Some say the Orioles could strike out at near-prodigious rates this season, but that hasn't been the case so far this spring. They have 163 strikeouts in 21 games this season, which makes for nearly eight per game. That's not terribly close to the league leaders at this point, which is good news for those hoping these rates will carry over. As far as the individual offenders go, the trio of Mark Trumbo (14 in 40 at-bats), Chris Davis (11 in 29 at-bats) and Pedro Alvarez (8 in 21 at-bats) account for 20 percent of the spring strikeouts in 12.4 percent of the team's at-bats.

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