Who is Brewers infielder Jonathan Schoop?
First things first: It’s pronounced “scope.”
Some congratulations are in order.
Schoop goes from the 33-76 Orioles — now a frankly wild 42 1/2 games back in the AL East — to the 63-49 Brewers and (almost) the top of the National League. Not bad for a guy who has been to the playoffs just twice since making his major-league debut in 2013.
A native of Willemstad, Curacao, Schoop, then 16, signed with the Orioles as an amateur free agent in 2008.
A member of the Curacao squad that won the 2004 Little League World Series, Schoop, then 12, was the little nation’s star shortstop, going 2-for-3 in the championship game and pitching the final inning against California’s Thousand Oaks.
He stayed at short until 2011, when he joined the Single-A Frederick Keys, lining up alongside future Orioles teammate Manny Machado. The two rose through the Orioles organization together, becoming close friends.
For the first time in nearly a decade, they’ve had to part ways.
Schoop is in Milwaukee, while Machado went to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado are great friends. After Schoop was traded to the Brewers, "[Machado] was the first one who texted me, and told me, 'I'm going to see you again. I'm going to play against you and I'm going to beat you, so you know.'"
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) August 1, 2018
They didn’t have to wait long. Schoop hit a grounder to Machado in his first Brewers at-bat. Machado made another slick play to get his old friend out in the fifth inning.
And while Machado is among the game’s premiere infielders, Schoop is no slouch. Schoop led all AL second basemen in assists in 2016 and 2017, and also led the group in putouts and range factor last year.
Schoop’s bat hasn’t quite made it to Milwaukee yet — he’s 0-for-8 since the trade — but he was on a tear in July. Schoop hit .360 with nine home runs last month, homering in five straight games from July 22-27, enough to earn AL Player of the Week honors.
The NL Player of the Week for that timeframe? Teammate Christian Yelich. That’s right: The Brewers have the reigning players of the week in both leagues on the roster.