Oakland Athletics fans know the type of value Matt Chapman brings to the franchise. However, he is still underrated around the game.
It is difficult to imagine that there had been questions regarding Matt Chapman when he was selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. Yet, he was not considered a top 50 prospect in the draft at the time, his selection considered a reach by the Oakland Athletics. Sure, he was seen as a future elite defensive third baseman, but there were plenty of questions about his bat developing enough to make him a viable prospect.
In retrospect, those questions seem ridiculous. The A’s have instead gotten a bargain in Chapman with that selection, as he has been an excellent all around player. To this point, he has produced a career .257/.341/.500 batting line, hitting 74 homers and 101 doubles. Equally important, Chapman has saved 40 runs at third, establishing himself as an elite defensive player at the hot corner.
He has certainly been rewarded for his performance. Chapman has been a two time Gold Glove winner, taking home the Platinum Glove both years. He finally made his first All Star Game in 2019, and has finished in the top ten of the MVP vote in each of the past two seasons.
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And yet, Chapman is still overlooked by fans around the game. He is a relatively anonymous star, a player whose accomplishments have been overshadowed by bigger names. While Chapman is easily one of the top third basemen in the game, his name rarely comes up in that conversation.
Chapman is also overlooked on his own team. The likes of Khris Davis and Marcus Semien capture the headlines on offense, while the A’s young pitchers command the attention of baseball fans. In fact, Billy Beane may be the best known member of the organization, and he is in the front office. A player like Chapman is easy to overlook due to his steady production and unassuming nature.
But, in reality, that is the case with the A’s as a whole. While individual players may tantalize the average baseball fan, the A’s tend to be overlooked. Their smaller market stature, general lack of free agency splashes, and reliance on building from within tend to lead to being overshadowed.
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But that is how the Oakland Athletics like it. Players like Matt Chapman may be overlooked, but that does not take away from their own stardom.