Going Deep : Matt Chapman, Not Just A Defensive Wizard

Michael Bash breaks down Matt Chapman's potential at the plate for 2019.

Coming into 2018, Matt Chapman was known purely for his glove on the hot corner, which was one of the best in the game, but his bat was lagging behind and did not offer much relevance in fantasy baseball leagues. Through the first three months of 2017, that looked like it was not going to change very much, especially following a brutal May which saw him bat a putrid .186 and an even better OPS of 595.

However, that all changed in the second half of the season, which saw a new and improved Chapman. He became a .300 hitter over that span, started smoking the ball, drove in runs in bunches and saw his triple-slash line in the latter three months rise to the tune of .309/.371./.591, a vast improvement from his first-half numbers.

Chapman has been able to constantly lower his K rate each season that he has played, though this year saw a slight decline in his BB%, dipping below 10% for this first time in his career.

Name PA BB% K% OBP SLG OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+
Alex Bregman 705 13.60% 12.10% 0.394 0.532 0.926 0.246 0.289 0.396 157
Jose Ramirez 698 15.20% 11.50% 0.387 0.552 0.939 0.282 0.252 0.391 146
Nolan Arenado 673 10.80% 18.10% 0.374 0.561 0.935 0.264 0.314 0.391 132
Anthony Rendon 597 9.20% 13.70% 0.374 0.535 0.909 0.227 0.323 0.383 140
Eugenio Suarez 606 10.60% 23.40% 0.366 0.526 0.892 0.243 0.322 0.376 135
Matt Carpenter 677 15.10% 23.30% 0.374 0.523 0.897 0.266 0.291 0.375 138
Matt Chapman 616 9.40% 23.70% 0.356 0.508 0.864 0.23 0.338 0.369 137
Miguel Andujar 606 4.10% 16.00% 0.328 0.527 0.855 0.23 0.316 0.361 128
Travis Shaw 587 13.30% 18.40% 0.345 0.48 0.825 0.239 0.242 0.351 119

A look at the league’s top 3B shows that Chapman compares very well with some of the bigger names in the sport. His closest comparison would likely be Eugenio Suarez, who also had a breakout 2018.

Chapman also compares well to perennial NL MVP candidate Nolan Arenado, whom, coincidentally, he played high school ball with for El Toro HS in California. With those two gold glovers playing on the same side of the infield, a ground ball probably did not stand a chance of getting through for a single.

Chapman numbers increased as the Athletics made a second-half surge towards the playoffs and fantasy owners who owned him reaped the benefits off of the waiver wire. His numbers were backed up by great underlying stats and a young improving lineup around him, which should offer potential for even more upside for the 25-year old slugger in 2019.

The one glaring weakness that hurts Chapman’s overall upside is the ballpark that he plays in. O.Co coliseum isn’t exactly a hitters paradise, so it will suppress his overall power, but he showed he still has a chance to eclipse the 30 home run mark for the first time in his career.

Pictured below are two graphics, one that shows hit hit chart in his home stadium, and the second one is if Chapman played in Yankee Stadium. As you can see you can almost add 10 home runs to his 2018 total if he didn’t play in Oakland.

 

 

Chapman had a breakout year in 2018 and showed fans and fantasy owners alike that he’s a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the field. He projects to be a safe fantasy pick moving forward and an anchor for the 2019 Athletics. Currently Chapman is being draft around 3B14 which comes after the 100th pick, that is great value for a rising player like chapman who should continue his surge up the 3B rankings.

Michael Bash

Accountant by day, Baseball Junkie by night. Co-Host of The Atlantic Files podcast on iTunes. Die Hard Yankees fan, bucketlist goal is to attend every major league stadium currently built. 8/30 so far with many more to come. "The Yankees Don't always win because they have the best players, they win because people can't stop staring at the pinstripes"

  • Prosciutto Legend says:

    Great stuff! How many on the list in the article would you take Chapman over given their ADP?

    • Michael Bash says:

      Right now he is being drafted around 3B14 which if you got him there I think that is some great value for him, I would take him over Shaw and Andujar. Donaldson, is a guy who’s worth the risk so I can’t knock someone taking him over MC, but I think right around 3B10 is where he should be drafted, and as he did last year has a chance to finish higher up.

  • Josh says:

    Do you have projections for him? I know his hard hit rate went way up during his breakout, but I’m not sure how aggressively to target him. His BA looks like it was at least partially luck, right?

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