Since we’ve talked about the good and the bad, the logical place to wrap this up would be with answering the question, “what’s next?”. While I don’t have a crystal ball at all, I’d like to offer a glass half-full perspective when it comes to Chapman’s future.
I’m so confident in his defence that I don’t even feel it’s worth discussing any further, so let’s focus on his struggles at the plate. While the box score numbers aren’t looking so good these days, a closer look at his Statcast numbers offers a more encouraging picture.
While his K% and Whiff % are truly ugly compared to his peers, there are some positive signs we can point to. When he does make contact he’s hitting the ball with authority, sitting in the 89th percentile for Average Exit Velocity, and 91st in Hard Hit %. It makes sense, especially given his strikeout percentage recently, but it is encouraging that he’s squaring up the ball this well when he does make contact, and his Barrel % ranking of 65th is a good sign as well.
Does this mean that Chapman is going to improve as the season goes on? It’s hard to say, but I feel like there are two quick things we can take away from looking at these numbers. First, if he’s going to contribute at an elite level, he’s gotta find a way to shrink the strikeout numbers, even just a bit. Statcast also shows that his expected numbers are better than what’s taken place in reality, and that should correct itself more as the season goes on.
Things haven’t been pretty at the plate lately for Chapman or his Blue Jays teammates, but I truly believe there is too much talent for this recent cold stretch to last for the team, or their third baseman.