As good as Chapman’s defence has been thus far, he’s been struggling at the plate over the first 34 games of the season.
Heading into Saturday’s match-up with the Rays, Chapman was slashing .193/.268/.368 with five home runs, five doubles, and 15 RBI. In an individual way, Chapman has been lucky that his fellow teammates have been struggling at the plate as well, but of course that hasn’t translated to team success over their latest losing streak.
He’s been particularly struggling lately, as he’s hitting just .146/.250/.314 over his last 15 games that cover 48 at-bats, and just .087/.185/.130 with nine strikeouts across 23 at-bats over his last seven games, and he ended up going 0-4 on Saturday as well. To be fair, he’s had some tough luck recently, as he hit the ball very hard several times last night, there was Randy Arozarena’s diving catch that took a hit away from him on Friday, and a deep fly ball that died on the warning track in New York.
Still, the Blue Jays are going to need a lot more from the 29 year old when it comes to offence, even if they don’t expect him to be the star of the lineup. As the number six or seven hitter, they can live with a lower batting average scenario as long as he’s producing some power numbers at the same time, and contributing with his trademark Gold Glove calibre defence. On Saturday they moved him up to the leadoff spot, and while I don’t expect that to last any longer than George Springer’s absence, maybe it’ll help get Chapman’s bat going a bit.
I’m confident that he is going to be fine as the season progresses, but there’s no denying that Chapman has struggled at the plate to start the year. Here’s hoping that changes for him, and for several of his teammates in the not so distant future.