Jonathan Schoop will be making his first trip to the All-Star Game as the Baltimore Orioles’ lone representative.
Schoop is batting .293, has a team-best 51 RBIs and is tied with Manny Machado for the team lead with 16 home runs. Now in his fourth full season, the 25-year-old second baseman was delighted to be headed to Miami to play a reserve role for the AL Stars on July 11.
“It means a lot for me and for my family,” Schoop said Sunday.
He learned of his selection from manager Buck Showalter and third base coach Bobby Dickerson.
“Buck told me and Bobby D. starts crying. He’s known me since I was 16,” Schoop said. “I think he’s more happy for me than (I am) that I made it.”
Dickerson said: “The first time I met him was down in the Dominican Academy. Just a little skinny kid. He wasn’t even thought of as one of our big prospects.”
A native of Curacao, Schoop was signed by the Orioles in 2008 and made his big league debut with Baltimore in 2013.
Last season he hit .267 with 25 homers and 82 RBIs in 162 games. Now, Schoop is hitting third in a lineup filled with potent bats.
Teammates Adam Jones, Machado and Brad Brach were overlooked on a team that reached the midpoint of its schedule with a 40-41 record.
Schoop expects to get some advice on how to conduct himself from Machado, a three-time All-Star having a down season.
“Me and him are brothers. He’s happy for me that I made it,” Schoop said. “He will tell me what to expect and what to do over there and how to carry myself over there.”
Machado didn’t make it, in part because he’s batting .217. But he’s happy for Schoop.
“I’m beyond excited,” Machado said. “I know how much he’s worked to get here and all the struggled he’s been through just to get to the big leagues. Now, just the opportunity to represent his country, represent himself, represent himself and his family in the All-Star Game, it’s unbelievable.”
Twelve first-time starters picked: Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa and Nolan Arenado were among 12 first-time starters elected Sunday for the All-Star Game at Miami on July 11, the most since voting was returned to fans in 1970.
Just one player was picked from the World Series champion Cubs: reliever Wade Davis, who wasn't even with Chicago when it ended a 108-year title drought last fall. The Cubs had seven All-Stars last season.
Two of the first-time starters are from the Houston Astros, who have the best record in the major leagues: shortstop Correa and outfielder George Springer. Second baseman Jose Altuve was elected to his third start.
Houston pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. were picked, as well, giving the Astros five All-Stars, tied for the most with the New York Yankees, Cleveland and Washington. Keuchel is hurt and won't pitch.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, second baseman Daniel Murphy and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman were elected to start, and Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg were selected for the pitching staff. Harper led fan voting with 4.63 million ballots. At 32, Zimmerman is an All-Star for the first time since 2009, when he was a reserve third baseman.
Judge, the 6-foot-7 rookie who leads the major leagues with 27 home runs, topped the AL with 4.49 million votes. He is joined in the outfield by Springer and Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout, who hopes to return in time from a torn thumb ligament. Cleveland's Jose Ramirez overtook Minnesota's Miguel Sano in the final days of balloting to win the AL third base spot by about 54,000 votes, Toronto's Justin Smoak bounced back to beat Kansas City's Eric Hosmer by 555,000 at first base, and Tampa Bay's Corey Dickerson rallied to win at designated hitter by nearly 75,000 over Seattle's Nelson Cruz. The Royals' Salvador Perez won at catcher.
Arenado overtook the Cubs' Kris Bryant, last year's NL MVP, to win at third base by 180,000. Arenado will be joined in the NL lineup by Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, Miami outfielder Marcell Ozuna and San Francisco catcher Buster Posey.
There were 11 first-time starters last season in San Diego, the last year the winning league received home-field advantage in the World Series. Under baseball's new labor contract, the Series now starts in the ballpark of the pennant winner with the better record.
Catcher Gary Sanchez, injured second baseman Starlin Castro and pitchers Dellin Betances and Luis Severino also were picked from the Yankees. Cleveland is sending pitchers Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller, shortstop Francisco Lindor and outfielder Michael Brantley.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was picked as a reserve and plans to defend his Home Run Derby title on July 10. Judge also has been invited, and Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger, who leads the NL with 24 homers, has said he will be in the derby.
In a sign of the generational change, the All-Stars with the most selections are Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw with eight and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina with seven. Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, an 11-time All-Star, wasn't picked for the first time since 2009.
Among the strong candidates overlooked were Carlos Carrasco, Jacob deGrom, Gio Gonzalez, Ivan Nova, Roberto Osuna, Anthony Rizzo, Travis Shaw, Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton and Alex Wood.
Rosters were cut from 34 per league to 32 under the new labor deal, and online voting determines the last spot on each roster. Elvis Andrus, Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius, Logan Morrison and Mike Moustakas are the AL candidates, and Justin Bour, Bryant, Anthony Rendon, Mark Reynolds and Justin Turner are on the NL ballot.
The AL had won four straight and went 11-3 in the years the All-Star Game determined World Series home field. Marlins Park is the third of four straight NL ballparks to host the All-Stars and will be followed by Washington in 2018.