SEATTLE — Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop is hitting to all fields, walking more and striking out less. But that's not what shows manager Buck Showalter that his 24-year-old second baseman, so long the second fiddle to third baseman Manny Machado's lead, is taking the next step as a player on his own.
"You see guys who have a lot of confidence when they don't have to go out there and play Home Run Derby in [batting practice] to get their chest puffed up," Showalter said. "Jon knows what he's capable of and he's staying within himself. When he gets out of whack, he gets right back in. That's why he's been so consistent the last three or four weeks."
Schoop's two hits in Friday's 5-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners gave him his ninth multihit game in his past 13, a stretch in which he's hitting .463 (25-for-54) with three home runs and seven doubles. Schoop hit .355 with a 1.009 OPS and five home runs in June for far-and-away the best month of his major league career. Showalter credits the work Schoop does before games with hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and assistant hitting coach Mark Quinn.
"Jon doesn't let anything snowball," Showalter said. "He's got a really good routine, approach. A lot of young players, it's fun to see young players develop. Especially young hitters, you get to see kind of what they're going to do."
Schoop downplays the improvements, though it's hard not to see a slight change in his demeanor as the hits pile up.
"Just trying to get better," he said. "Trying to play every day and compete and win. I go into the cage, get my work done and try to get better."
Through 79 games, Schoop is batting .300 with 13 home runs, 21 doubles and a career-high 47 RBIs. He also has tied a career high with 13 walks.