Matt Chapman

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Matt James Chapman

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Biographical Information[edit]

Third baseman Matt Chapman became one of the most exciting Oakland A's within a year of his debut. He is blessed both defensively (two-time Platinum Glove winner) and offensively (74 home runs in 385 games and an All-Star nod in 2019). Not bad for a young man who was a high school teammate of another all-world third baseman, Nolan Arenado.

Matt was taken by Oakland and scout Eric Martins in the first round of the 2014 amateur draft, 25th overall, and debuted that summer with the AZL Athletics. He was the Texas League Player of the Year in 2016 with the Midland RockHounds. In 117 games, he hit .244 but with 26 doubles and 29 homers, to go along with 78 runs scored and 83 RBI. He also played 18 games in AAA for the Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League, hitting just .197 but with 7 homers and 13 RBI. His combined slash line was .237/.328/.519 in 135 games.

In 2017, Matt was hitting .259 with 16 homers and 30 RBI in 49 games for Nashville when the A's called him up on June 15th. Veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe was designated for assignment to make room for him, indicating the A's intended to let it ride with Matt at the hot corner. He made his big league debut that day against the New York Yankees, going 0 for 3 with 2 walks and a run scored in an 8-7 win. The following day, his first major league hit, a single off Jonathan Holder of the Yankees, drove in two runs in the 8th inning and put the A's ahead to stay in a 7-6 win. He played a total of 84 games for the A's, hitting .234/.313/.472 with 14 homers and 40 RBI, one of a number of young players to make a good first impression with the team.

He was the Opening Day third baseman in 2018, getting the start against the Los Angeles Angels on March 29th. His first homer of the year was a memorable one, as he connected on a hanging slider for a three-run shot off rookie phenom Shohei Ohtani of the Angels in the 2nd inning on April 1st, temporarily putting his team ahead, 3-2. It was just about the only ball hit solidly off Ohtani in six innings that day as Oakland lost, 7-4. Matt, meanwhile, won not only accolades for his bat, but his otherworldly fielding at third base. At the end of July, he was ranked the top defensive player in the majors, out of all positions, according to advanced defensive metrics with 26 Defensive Runs Saved - 8 more than the next best player, Lorenzo Cain - and the highest Defensive Index for any player by a wide margin. His play on both sides of the ball was clearly one of the keys to why the A's surged out of nowhere to challenge the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West. He ended the season at .278/.356/.508 in 145 games, with 24 homers and 68 RBI, and won the Gold Glove at third base while finishing 7th in MVP voting. He was named the AL winner of the Platinum Glove, with his former high school teammate Arenado winning it in the National League. In the Wild Card Game against the New York Yankees, he went 1-for-5 as the A's were eliminated.

Following his breakout 2018 season, Chapman underwent a pair of surgeries, one on his right thumb in October and one on his left shoulder in December. He was ready to rock when the 2019 kicked off and continued to do his thing on both sides of the ball. Matt was an All-Star for the first time, hitting .249/.342/.506 with 36 home runs, 91 RBI and 102 runs scored, then going 1-for-3 in another Wild Card Game exit in October, this one at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. At season's end, he took home his second Platinum Glove, once again being matched up with Arenado. In 2020, he hit .232 in 37 games, but with 9 doubles and 10 homers, good for an OPS+ of 121, before he was stopped by an injured hip. He played his final game on September 6th, and a week later the A's announced that he would require surgery, putting him out of action for the remainder of the season and the postseason. In 2021, he played 151 games and won his third Gold Glove, batting .210 with 27 homers and 72 RBIs.

The A's barely missed the postseason in 2021, but when the 2021-2022 lockout was finally resolved in early March, they went on a selling spree, moving three cornerstone players in the span of a few days. First came SP Chris Bassitt, then 1B Matt Olson and on March 16, 2022, it was Chapman who was sent away for prospects. He headed to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for four players: 3B Kevin Smith and Ps Gunnar Hoglund, Zach Logue and Kirby Snead.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2016 Player of the Year Texas League Midland RockHounds
  • AL All-Star (2019)
  • 3-time AL Gold Glove Winner (2018, 2019 & 2021)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2018, 2019 & 2021)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (2018 & 2019)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ian Harrison (Associated Press): "Blue Jays acquire 3B Matt Chapman from Oakland for 4 players", Yahoo! News, March 16, 2022. [1]
  • Richard Justice: "Chapman is a star on the rise for surging A's: Third baseman could be best defender in baseball", mlb.com, August 12, 2018. [2]
  • Jane Lee: "'Dream come true': Chapman debuts with A's: Plouffe DFA'd in corresponding move", mlb.com, June 16, 2017. [3]
  • Keegan Matheson: "'It's exceptionally exciting': Chapman joins Blue Jays: Toronto swaps four prospects to A's for premier third baseman", mlb.com, March 16, 2022. [4]

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