Schoop leads Saguaros in back-and-forth battle
First multihit effort helps Surprise overcome Semien's two home runs
Jonathan Schoop struggled at the plate for the first three weeks of the Arizona Fall League. But he knew instead of making any dramatic overhauls to his swing he just needed to be more patient.
Schoop's improved approach worked Monday as he went 2-for-3 with a walk, his first in a week, and helped Surprise to an 8-7 victory against Glendale at Surprise Stadium.
It was Schoop's first multihit game of the fall and raised his batting average to .159. Schoop said he felt the same at the plate. He was just more focused on his approach.
"I was struggling a lot earlier because I was swinging at bad pitches," said Schoop, the Orioles' No. 4 prospect. "I knew I needed to be more patient and find balls that I can hit. That's what I did."
With the Saguaros trailing, 5-4, in the sixth, Schoop's patient approach helped start the Saguaros' comeback. He drew a leadoff walk against right-hander Yimi Garcia, the Dodgers' No. 12 prospect. Two batters later, Tony Wolters doubled and second baseman Marcus Semien committed an error, allowing Schoop to tie the game. Wolters eventually scored the go-ahead run on a two-out single by Indians teammate Joe Wendle.
An expected pitchers' duel between Alex Meyer and Eduardo Rodriguez, who are both ranked on MLB.com's Top 100 prospect list, never materialized. Rodriguez, the Orioles' No. 2 prospect, struck out four batters in three innings, but he gave up a two-run home run to Semien.
Schoop said the pitch Semien hit was Rodriguez's only mistake Monday.
"He's been good all season long," Schoop said. "That's why they sent him here, to get better. Today, he was great. He missed one pitch and they took advantage."
Meyer, the Twins' No. 3 prospect, allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in five innings. He struck out six batters.
The Saguaros pounded out 11 hits against the AFL's best pitching staff. Schoop, Wendle and Henry Urrutia all had two hits.
"This team plays good offense," Schoop said. "We saw good pitching today. We didn't do too much, we just hit the ball."
But the Desert Dogs were able to hold Tyler Naquin, the Indians' No. 5 prospect, hitless, ending his 13-game hitting streak. Naquin went 0-for-3 with an RBI and was twice hit by a pitch.
Glendale's offense was largely based on the home run. Yorman Rodriguez hit one homer and Semien added two more, including one that cut the deficit to one run in the ninth inning. Semien, the White Sox No. 9 prospect, finished the game 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
With another victory secured Monday afternoon, Schoop said he planned to spend the evening watching Game 5 of the World Series. He is following the exploits of Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts, who has seen his role grow throughout the playoffs to become the regular third baseman in the World Series.
Schoop and Bogaerts began the season as teammates on the Dutch team in the World Baseball Classic this spring.
"That's my man," Schoop said. "I'm very happy for him. He's doing good."
Like Bogaerts, Schoop made his Major League debut this season. But instead of playing in the bright lights of the playoffs, Schoop is working to improve his game in the AFL.
Schoop said he often talks to Bogaerts and hopes to learn from his friend's experience this month.
"I can learn a lot from him," Schoop said. "Maybe one day I'll be in that position, too."