Friday, September 27, 2013

Orioles #964 & 965- Jonathan Schoop & Jason Pridie

Hey, something to get excited about, a post with actual autographs AND pictures. That's probably why you checked this site in the first place!

Two players on divergent career paths both made their Orioles debuts during Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays. Since they both made their debut in the field in the top of the first inning, I have to use my debut tiebreaker system of the numbered positions on the field to declare Jonathan Schoop (pronounced scope) (2B) Oriole #964, while Jason Pridie (pronounced pry-dee) (CF) becomes #965. Schoop is the O's top minor league position prospect whose debut was also his first MLB action, while Pridie has mostly been a minor league journeyman, and the O's are the fourth big league team that he has played in a game for at the MLB level.

I was lucky enough to be at the game, and had some amazing seats to boot. All the better to take some quick shots of the two guys making their black and orange debuts.

Jonathan Schoop- Oriole #964, debuted 9/25 against Blue Jays

I was specifically excited to see Schoop's debut, as he has been one of the O's top prospects for a few years now. He has played primarily second base and shortstop in the minors, but can also man third base. In 2011 and most of 2012, he and Manny Machado played together at Frederick, and then Bowie to form a double-play combo with some serious MLB potential. I think that Machado has already surpassed his early career expectations and I'm hoping that Schoop will have the opportunity to make the club at the start of 2014.

Jonathan was one of the players whom I discussed possibly making the club out of Spring Training this past year, but there was ultimately way too much competition for the Orioles 2B job in 2013. Next year should be a clearer path with the end of B-Rob's contract and the unlikelihood of Casilla's return. 

Schoop has always seemed exceptionally down to earth and should be an extremely easy player to root for; just ask my dad who was fortunate to have a nice conversation with him in our hotel lobby upon Jonathan's return from playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic this year. As you can see, he also has been kind enough to sign a number of autographs for me over the years. 

His MLB career began with a bang, as he went 2-3 with a HR and three runs scored in his first MLB game. 

Here is at first base after singling in his first MLB at-bat

And here he is crossing home plate following his HR. He became just the second Oriole ever to homer in his MLB debut, following Larry Haney in 1966.

Jason Pridie- Oriole #965, debuted 9/25 against Blue Jays

I can pretty confidently say that this is currently the only signed Jason Pridie Orioles card out there, thanks to my dad's old man card production, in addition to a helpful graphing buddy in Norfolk, as I personally missed out on Pridie during Spring Training. For quite some time, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Pridie was not going to play for the 2013 O's, mainly due to his absence from the 40 man roster, and after his name was not included in the September call-ups, I put this card in my trade pile. 

But he was definitely a Buck Showalter kind of player whose name had come up over the course of the season so after AAA Norfolk's season ended, the O's sent him to Sarasota to remain fresh in a sort of taxi-squad type of situation. They needed a fresh player after Manny Machado's nasty knee injury coupled with Chris Dickerson's hamstring tweak, so Jason finally made it to Baltimore. 

Here is his first at-bat with the O's

So far in two games with the O's, he is 2-7 with an RBI, and has played left- and center-field. He also had an unfortunately timed error in last night's game when he straight flubbed an easy fly ball with two outs which allowed a Blue Jays runner to score from first base to take a 1-0 lead. But luckily the Orioles came back to win so it didn't cost them the game, though that is the kind of play that can leave behind bad memories when considering off-season roster moves.

Interestingly enough, I also read that these two debuts have pushed the Orioles to having used 54 different players during the course of the 2013 season, which ties the 1955 Orioles for most in franchise history. And it is absolutely crazy to think about that many players appearing in a game for the team in a single season, especially when that team remained in the hunt for a playoff spot until the final week of the season. Expect a run-down on the 54 players next week.

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