Detroit Tigers: Jonathan Schoop is not living up to his contract

The Detroit Tigers 2022 season has been a mockery of a performance. The team has been atrocious and has been unbearable to watch at times. Injuries have been a real problem, but the healthy players are also struggling to do much of anything.

Jonathan Schoop is one of the Detroit Tigers whose performance has been a problem. The Tigers awarded Schoop with a two-year, $15 million contract extension ahead of 2022 that will carry through the 2023 season and keep him in the Motor City.

However, he has to make it that far. The idea of designating him for the assignment looks more intriguing by the day or by the at-bat, really. He’s fallen off from the player he has been for the Tigers since signing back in 2020.

His performance in 2021 was worthy of an extension, especially since he was one of the Tigers’ better hitters. Now, he looks like he is more interested in collecting his paycheck and forgetting how to swing the baseball bat.

Detroit Tigers’ Jonathan Schoop’s 2022 performance has been laughable.

Schoop’s fallen so far below his performance standards that it has been incredibly hard to watch. Watching him in the box for the Tigers is like watching the kid in Little League whose parents are forcing him to be there.

All jokes aside, the bat has not played at all. Schoop’s swings lack effort and intent; he’s up there throwing the bat through the zone no matter where the pitch is. The stats are not pretty either. Through 258 plate appearances, Schoop has managed to slash an abysmal .195/.229/.309 with 53 punchouts.

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When he does make contact, it’s not barrels. That’s a problem. It’s hard to compare sample sizes of the last few seasons with Schoop only having about half of the same plate appearances in, but according to Baseball Savant, he’s down in plenty of categories.

In 2022, he’s showing regression in Barrel%, Average Exit Velocity, xBA (expected Batting Average), and run value based on swing decisions. He’s shown an increase in K%, First Pitch Swing %, Whiff rate, and Chase rate to this point in the season.

Expanding on this, the things that have regressed mean that he is not hitting the ball as well or barreling it up as he has in recent years. The stats that are increasing are not increasing in a good way; those are showcasing that he is whiffing more often and swinging at pitches outside of the zone.

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The one I found most interesting was the jump in first-pitch swing percentage, which is up around 9% from where it was in 2021, which speaks to the approach I mentioned earlier. While I was joking, it does seem like he’s going up there looking to be on or out in three pitches.

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The Detroit Tigers have to do something about Jonathan Schoop’s struggles.

The bottom line is that Schoop has struggled, and it might be time to see what the other options might be. The first option is Harold Castro whenever he returns to the lineup. He’s been the team’s utility guy and has been one of the team’s better hitters to this point.

Castro is an option and would likely do just fine in the second base role, giving Schoop a ride on the bench. Another option is Kody Clemens, who has struggled in his big league debut but is worth giving another look. While I do not view Clemens as a long-term solution at second base, it’s worth seeing if he can adjust and settle in.

Thirdly, if the team gets drastic and opts to get rid of Schoop, they could try to replace him from within with Ryan Kreidler from the Toledo Mud Hens. While I do not think Kreidler sees the big leagues any time soon and is likely trade bait, it may not be the worst idea to see if there’s a fit with the Tigers at second.

The Tigers have watched Schoop continue to struggle; there’s got to be a line that gets drawn eventually. Like much of the Tigers’ offense, his performance has been horrible, but with the depths he’s fallen to, something has to give.

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I’m in favor of keeping him around but giving him a ride on the pine to see if that causes him to make some adjustments when he gets his next opportunity. Something has to give with Schoop, especially after he was one of the team’s best hitters; it’s hard to watch him struggle like this.

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