MLB.com recently ran an article detailing the best defensive player on each team. The Oakland A’s had several potential candidates.
In the absence of baseball, MLB.com has been running a series of articles looking at the best players in a specific area on each team. On Friday, the focus turned to the best defensive players currently with every franchise. In the case of the Oakland A’s, there were several potential candidates to choose from.
Matt Chapman ended up taking home the title, an honor that is well deserved. In his time with the A’s, he has emerged as the best defensive third baseman in the game, winning the Platinum Glove in each of his two full seasons while saving 40 runs at third in just 385 games. With his powerful bat factored in, Chapman could be considered one of the top third basemen in the game today.
His cohort across the diamond was also worthy of consideration. Matt Olson has become not just a middle of the order power hitter, but a stellar defensive first baseman as well. He has also won the Gold Glove in each of his first two full seasons in the majors, saving 20 runs in total. Olson has led AL first basemen in putouts and assists in each of the past two seasons.
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And then there is Ramon Laureano. In just a short time in Oakland, he has become known for his highlight reel catches and impressive arm in center. While he has yet to win a Gold Glove, Laureano has already led the league in assists in center, doing so in just 47 games in 2018. He even saved seven runs in just 13 games in right last season.
While he may not have the same defensive profile as the trio above, Marcus Semien has begun to show that he is more than a hitter at short. A two time Gold Glove nominee, he has continued to work on his defense, to the point where he ranked fourth with seven runs saved at short in 2018. Considering his defense at the beginning of his career, it is a testament to the effort he has put in.
Sean Murphy could also be worthy of consideration. While he made just 18 appearances behind the plate last season, he also had one of the hardest throws to second base of any major league catcher. His excellent defensive reputation, as well as that of his strong arm, had already preceded him to the majors. In time, Murphy will also be a part of this conversation.
There is an adage in football that defense wins championships. The Oakland A’s may well find that also extends to Major League Baseball as well.