Scoping Out Jonathan Schoop

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Wednesday evening I took advantage of the lack of insufferable summer humidity or torrential afternoon downpours to watch the Bowie Baysox against the New Britain Rock Cats, the Double-A Affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. In addition to evaluating several players for the Orioles and Rockies, I wanted to watch Jonathan Schoop, who was on a rehabilitation assignment with the Baysox.

The 23-year-old Schoop has been recovering from a right knee injury much of this season, playing only 9 games for the Orioles thus far in 2015. Schoop has spent the week in Bowie and from this viewing, he is nearly ready to return to the major leagues.

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In his first at-bat, Schoop was clearly anxious, taking the first pitch for an obvious ball before popping out to the second baseman on the next pitch, an offering low and inside of the strike zone.

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Similarly in his second plate appearance, Schoop watched a first-pitch ball before turning on an 88mph fastball and hitting a sharp ground ball to the third baseman. Schoop ran well down the line, making it a much closer play than the defender expected.

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In the 5th inning Schoop came to the plate and showed the reason he is a major leaguer, taking a first-pitch fastball and spanking it well into the trees in left center field.  Schoop showed off his outstanding bat speed and the ball sounded like a beautiful explosion off his bat.  This was easily one of the farthest home runs I have ever seen hit at Bowie in the 5+ years I have been watching games their home games.

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Later in his 4th at-bat of the evening, and as it turns out his final of the game, Schoop finally showed some patience at the plate, seeing seven pitches and working a full count before grounding sharply to third base.  Again, he looked slightly over-anxious with the sub-90s velocity, pulling two pitches extremely foul before grounding out.  This left Schoop 1-4 on the evening with a home run and two runs batted in before being replaced by Corbin Joseph in the 8th inning.

Defensively it was a rather quiet evening for Schoop at second base, as he caught a pair of popups in the field and impressively turned a 5-4-3 double play in the 4th inning.  He did fail to make a difficult play on a severe hop several steps to his right in the 6th inning, although his excellent athleticism allowed him to be in position to make the play in the first place.

Overall I was extremely impressed with Schoop in his 5th game of a rehabilitation assignment.  His running ability, agility and pure speed looked solid both defensively and running the bases.  In addition Schoop showed off both his power and bat speed at the plate.  He could still use 10-20 more at-bats to help regain his rhythm and timing, but Schoop should be more than ready to return and contribute to Baltimore’s lineup early next week.

THE Joshua Kusnick Experience Episode #4 – Marc Maron Envy

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Episode #4 of THE Joshua Kusnick Experience has arrived!  On this episode Josh describes his current envy for Marc Maron and his Podcast, then shifts his focus to recapping his experience with the 2015 MLB Draft, including discussing his two newest clients Justin Garcia and Jordan Guerrero.

Then we transition and I ask Josh his thoughts on the controversial trade of Touki Toussaint and Bronson Arroyo to the Braves, specifically from an agent’s perspective.

Please follow our Twitter @JoshKusnickPod and thanks for downloading!

THE NatsGM Show Episode 39 – Guest Kiley McDaniel

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Episode #39 of THE NatsGM Show has officially dropped and I am proud to be joined by Fangraphs.com Lead Prospect Analyst and MLB Draft Guru Kiley McDaniel.

On this episode Kiley and I discuss in great detail the recent MLB Draft, specifically his thoughts on the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles picks and a few other teams that did particularly well.  Then we transition and talk about the PG National Showcase which wrapped up yesterday and several of the top prospects for the 2016 draft.

Thanks to Kiley for joining me – I highly encourage all baseball fans to listen to Kiley’s tremendous insights in this interview!

Heroes of Half Street – Washington Nationals John Patterson

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In the Washington Nationals inaugural 2005 season, their expansion roster consisted of a few solid players (Jose Guillen, Livan Hernandez, and Jose Vidro), some declining veterans (Vinny Castilla, Esteban Loaiza, and Brian Schneider), and several promising youngsters. While most fans remember Ryan Zimmerman and Chad Cordero among those precocious prospects, no one player on that roster had more talent and superstar potential than RHP John Patterson.

Patterson was the 1st round pick, 5th overall, of the Montreal Expos in the 1996 MLB Draft. However, due to a technicality in the negotiation process, the Expos lost Patterson’s exclusive draft rights, and major league baseball declared him a free agent. After this decision, Patterson quickly signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for a monster $6.075 million signing bonus. Patterson made his major league debut July 20, 2002 for Arizona and made a positive impression in his rookie season, posting a 3.23 ERA in his 30.2 innings pitched.

However, Patterson was unable to build off his successful rookie season and suffered a rough sophomore slump for the Diamondbacks, posting a 6.05 ERA over 55 innings pitched. Following this disappointing season, Arizona decided the following offseason to trade Patterson back to the organization that originally drafted him, the Montreal Expos, in exchange for lefty-specialist Randy Choate.

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After a promising but inconsistent first season in Montreal in 2004, Patterson blossomed when the team moved to Washington, making 31 starts for the 2005 Nationals, pitching 198.1 innings with a 9-7 record, a 3.13 ERA, a 1.195 WHIP, and 185 total strikeouts. Blessed with a blazing mid-90s fastball with late life, a devastating 12-to-6 hammer curveball, and a sharp, hard-breaking slider, Patterson had the look of a #1 starter and was considered one of the elite young starting pitchers in baseball.

Unfortunately, as rapidly as his reputation grew throughout baseball, the promise in Patterson’s pitching arm dissolved equally as quickly. Patterson was able to make only 8 starts in 2006 before coming down with a rather mysterious right forearm injury which forced him to undergo surgery in July and ended his 2006 season. Patterson returned in 2007 to serve as Washington’s Opening Day starter, but was a shell of his former self, providing the Nationals with a 7.47 ERA in only 31.1 innings before the organization shut him down for the season.  Soon thereafter Patterson underwent yet another surgery on his forearm.

As it turns out, 2007 was the last season Patterson would pitch in the majors, as the Nationals released him late in spring training in 2008 due to lingering forearm problems. Patterson was quickly snatched up by Texas, but they released him two months later, and he announced his retirement the following winter. For his career, Patterson finished with an 18-25 record with a 4.32 ERA, a 1.351 WHIP, and 415 total strikeouts in his 454.1 career innings.

After his retirement from baseball, Patterson moved back to his hometown Texas and is married to the former 2005 Miss District of Columbia, Shannon Schambeau. While other pitchers will go on to have lengthier careers in Washington, the first Ace of the franchise was arguably ole #22, John Patterson.