If Matt Chapman can remain healthy for the 2021 season, the Oakland A’s third baseman could find himself back in MVP discussions.
It was not that long ago that Matt Chapman had been an MVP candidate. In 2018 and 2019, Chapman had been a major part of the A’s success, hitting for power and playing superb defense at third. His performance led to consecutive top ten finishes in the MVP vote, leading to the belief that he would become a perennial candidate for the award.
Then came 2020. Chapman struggled throughout the year, eventually being shut down and undergoing surgery for a torn hip labrum. His production at the plate disappeared as the year wore on, and his Gold Glove quality defense vanished.
But a new year brings a new hope. Chapman is expected to be healthy and fully able to participate at the start of spring training. With this return to health, Chapman is once again considered a potential MVP candidate ahead of the upcoming season.
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Chapman had an excellent run to start his career. Over his first three seasons, he posted a .257/.341/.500 batting line, hitting 74 homers and 101 doubles over his 1612 plate appearances. That solid performance extended to his glove as well, as he saved 40 runs in that time, the most in the majors in that span.
But it all fell apart last season. Chapman still posted a 122 OPS+, but his performance was not what the A’s had hoped for. He produced a .232/.276/.535 batting line in his 152 plate appearances, hitting ten homers and nine doubles. However, he also struck out 54 times with only eight walks, and actually cost the A’s a run at the hot corner.
If Chapman is healthy, it is entirely probable that he returns to that form once again. He is still just 27 years old, and is just beginning his prime. That should allow for a return to his status as one of the best third basemen in the game, if not a potential MVP candidate.
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Matt Chapman may be the Oakland A’s best chance at an MVP candidate in 2021. If he is healthy, it would not be a surprise to see his name amongst the leading vote getters.