The Minnesota Twins were waiting for the actual season to receive contributions from Jonathan Schoop but that may have already happened.
When the Minnesota Twins signed Jonathan Schoop some were pretty excited with the signing, others were lukewarm, and then others were kicking and screaming and questioning the front office’s decision. While we were waiting for summer and baseball games to be played to see any impact of Schoop on the Twins we may have seen some impact before the team even packs up for Spring Training.
If reports are correct, it sounds like Schoop may have played a role in making sure that the Twins landed veteran DH Nelson Cruz. Even if Schoop returns to his All-Star 2017 form, helping bring Cruz to Minnesota could be one of his biggest contributions to the team in 2019.
Cruz and Schoop spent time together on the 2014 Baltimore Orioles. That season the Orioles were first in the AL East and went 96-66. They made it to the ALCS that season and lost to the Kansas City Royals. At 22-years-old Schoop was just starting his career and hadn’t realized his hitting ability yet. Cruz was 33-years-old and mashed 40 home runs.
Schoop’s recruitment of Cruz speaks to the widespread praise of Cruz’s characterization as a great teammate. Something that has been echoed through a series of messages sent out as Cruz officially departs Seattle and joins the Twins. Chase De Jong is one player who came to the Twins this past summer who is excited about being reunited with one of the “best teammates” he has ever had.
One of the great connections that has been made about the direction of the Twins lineup going into 2019 is the amount of right-handed power that they have added. On Thursday after the Twins signed Cruz, Joel Sherman tweeted out that the Twins were second to last in the majors with 62 home runs by right-handed hitters.
Brian Dozier in his half season with the Twins led the way in homers by a righty with 16. It is very possible that Schoop and Cruz alone could match those 62 homers hit by Twins right-handers. In 2017 Schoop hit 32 home runs and Cruz has three 40 home run seasons under his belt.
I for one am still a bit lukewarm on the Schoop addition. I would have been very intrigued by the Twins taking a run at DJ LeMahieu. If you would have told me the Twins would land Cruz but it would mean bringing Schoop on board at the beginning of the offseason I would have been pretty excited about that series of events. So mark me excited about the direction of the Twins lineup as we are about to turn the calendar to 2019.