A year after Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop won the starting job out of spring training and kept it all season long, he is trying to build on his rookie season by slimming down.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the crowd at FanFest on Saturday that Schoop was down to 225 pounds from a 2014 spring training weight of 231 pounds, and Schoop said he was aiming to play at around 220 pounds this season.
"I wanted to cut some weight to move better, get my range higher and try to get some speed on the bases, too, try and put pressure on their defense," Schoop said.
Schoop, 23, spent his offseason running and training in Curacao alongside fellow major leaguers Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves and Jurickson Profar of the Texas Rangers, in addition to time with a trainer.
His desire to drop weight is part of an overall increase in preparation for this season, Schoop said. He admitted to wearing down a bit physically at the end of his first major league season, and hit just .191 in the second half and .155 from Sept. 1 until the end of the regular season.
Still, Schoop said he learned a lot from his up-and-down 2014 season, during which he hit .209/.244/.544 with 16 home runs and 45 RBIs in 137 games. He added four hits in seven postseason games, but even as his offense came and went, Schoop was lauded all season for his defense at second base.
Schoop said he hopes his renewed focus on pregame preparation and his offseason conditioning regimen add to the impact he made on the Orioles as a rookie.
"A lot of things are the same [this year], because I'm going in there to work hard, to make sure they know I'm ready this year," Schoop said. "I'm a better player than last year."