Matt Chapman has not been that bad in 2021

Sep 4, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman (26) hits a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman (26) hits a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /
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It is easy to be disappointed with Matt Chapman this season. After his hip issues and disappointing 2020 campaign, the hope was that Chapman would return to his All Star form in 2021.

That did not happen. Chapman has had his moments at the plate, but they have been few and far between. Likewise, Chapman’s defense, which had been amongst the best in the game, has taken a step backwards. He just has not been the same player that he once was.

Matt Chapman better than one would have thought

A look at the numbers would seemingly bear out that disappointment. Chapman has produced a .219/.318/.415 batting line in his 563 plate appearances, hitting 25 homers and 13 doubles. While he has drawn 70 walks, he has also struck out a career worst 180 times. Likewise, he has cost the A’s three runs defensively at third, a disappointing showing for someone who was once considered the gold standard at the position in the American League.

But Chapman’s season may not be as bad as one would have thought. He has been worth 3.2 bWAR on the season, ranking fourth on the A’s as a whole, and the second highest total amongst Oakland’s position players. He has actually been better than one would have expected.

That is certainly the case defensively. While the metrics may say that he has fallen off, Chapman leads AL third basemen in putouts, range factor, and fielding percentage while ranking second in assists and double plays. Chapman is getting the job done with his glove.

The same can be said about Chapman’s offense. He has continued to hit for power, and his ability to draw a walk has come back. His barrel rate is in the 86th percentile, but his hard hit rate and exit velocity are the lowest of his career. It is possible that he is still not at full strength, but there are several signs that he could get better next season.

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Matt Chapman has performed better based on the metrics than one would have expected. His disappointing season has not been as bad as one would think.

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