Orioles Seek Spot For Schoop's Bat





BALTIMORE—Some of the scouts who have watched infielder Jonathan Schoop at Double-A Bowie and in the Arizona Fall League think he's destined to be an everyday player in the majors.

The question is, where?

Schoop, 21, shifted to second base in the minors while Manny Machado played shortstop, which was the natural position for both players. He mostly played third with the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL.

Machado became the regular third baseman with the Orioles after his surprise promotion in August, and he's not moving from that position in 2013. J.J. Hardy just won his first Gold Glove at shortstop, and he's signed through 2014.

"Defensively, Schoop is going to be really solid no matter where they put him," a scout from outside the organization said. "He doesn't have great foot speed, which is probably why they have him at third base, but he handles everything there. He has plenty of arm. He can handle that or second base. And I've heard he can handle shortstop."

Schoop batted .245/.324/.386 with 24 doubles, a triple, 14 homers and 56 RBIs at Bowie in 2012. He hit .270/.446/.429 with four doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs in 63 at-bats with the Solar Sox. He committed three errors in 21 games.

"I think he has a ton of upside," the scout said. "From a batting standpoint, he's very young and raw, but when he's on, he has really good bat speed and really strong hands. The ball explodes off his bat. I saw that, and talked to other scouts who saw it. They're all very interested in what he's doing."

That's because his name kept coming up in trade talks last winter and during the deadline. The Orioles aren't looking to move him.

"The signs are there that he's really going to hit," the scout said. "I liked him at Bowie and I think he's going to be an everyday player up there eventually. Probably at third base."

BIRD SEED

• Justin Lord will replace Troy Mattes as pitching coach at low Class A Delmarva. For the last two years, Lord has served as pitching coach with the Southern Illinois Miners of the independent Frontier League.

• Ted Lekas, an area scout who covered New England and eastern Canada for the Orioles, is leaving the organization to get back into pro scouting. He's being replaced by Kirk Fredrikson, who will be in charge of New England, New York and parts of Canada. Fredrikson has worked with the New England Collegiate Baseball League, a college summer league, since 1996.