Oakland A’s waiting for Matt Chapman to heat up again
By David Hill
Matt Chapman appeared to be ready to take his place amongst the best third basemen in the game once again in 2021. He was healthy after undergoing surgery for a torn hip labrum which had hindered his ability at the plate and in the field. While he did not exactly crush the ball in spring training, he did draw 14 walks in 53 plate appearances while striking out just 12 times, giving hope that he would be ready for the start of the season.
Thus far, that has not been the case. Chapman has struggled in the A’s first ten games, with just four hits in forty plate appearances. While has has drawn five walks, he also leads the American League with 15 strikeouts as his timing at the plate still does not seem right.
Oakland A’s need Matt Chapman to heat up
Those struggles have continued on the defensive side as well, at least according to the metrics. While Chapman’s range is back to being above average, he is considered to have cost the A’s three runs at the hot corner. This is a far cry from the player that was pushing Nolan Arenado as the best defensive third baseman in the game prior to the 2020 season.
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If the A’s are going to shake off their typical slow start, they will need the offense to pick up. To this point, the lineup has been carried by Ramon Laureano, Mark Canha, Matt Olson, and the resurgent Jed Lowrie. That just is not enough – the A’s are going to need far more from other pieces.
In theory, Chapman should be a part of that group. Prior to his hip issues, he had been a dangerous hitter at third, producing a .257/.341/.500 batting line with 74 homers and 101 doubles in his 1612 plate appearances. He was adept at drawing walks and making solid contact, proving his overall value.
Given his track record, it is likely just a matter of time before Chapman heats up. The A’s have not exactly had the easiest of matchups to get going with, facing the Astros twice around a series with the Dodgers. Hopefully, facing some weaker competition will be what Chapman needs to get his bat going once more.
The Oakland A’s need Matt Chapman to be the player he was prior to 2019. He has plenty of time left this year to heat up and return to form.