Matt Chapman was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays in mid-March of this year and gave the ballclub something that has been lacking in years past – a legitimate everyday player at the hot corner.
Spending the first five years of his career with the Oakland Athletics, Chapman has earned a reputation throughout his time in the league for being one of the best defenders in all of baseball. Already with three Gold Glove Awards, two Platinum Glove Awards, and a Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award to his name, he certainly has the accolades to back it up.
After experimenting at third base with many different players over the past few seasons, with the likes of Joe Panik, Brandon Drury, and even Cavan Biggio, Blue Jays fans rejoiced at the thought of having a star third basemen again for the first time since Josh Donaldson manned the hot corner.
Needless to say, when Chapman was traded to the Blue Jays earlier this year in a deal that sent four prospects Oakland’s way, the defence was at the forefront of Chapman’s appeal.
Despite defence being the main appeal to Chapman’s game, he can be known for his bat at times as well. In 2019, Chapman hit .249 with 36 homeruns and 91 RBI and was named an All-Star. It’s evident that he’s capable of being great offensively, but his start at the plate this season was very disappointing.
Up until quite recently, Chapman’s batting average was sitting below the .200 mark, but there’s reason to believe he wasn’t as bad as his numbers showed. Although he hit only .225 in April and an even worse .179 in May, advanced stats show that Chapman may have been the victim of some bad luck.
His average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, and chase rate have been among the best in the league thus far, sitting in the 87th percentile or higher. Meanwhile, his barrel percentage, xSLG, and walk percentage have been good too, sitting in the 67th, 67th, and 68th percentile, respectively.
Those same statistics were nearly identical while his batting average was below the Mendoza line. It seems as though Chapman has finally started to get some luck at the dish, though, as he’s now slashing .216/.305/.371 and has really begun to heat up offensively, and owns a .296 batting average with one home run and three RBI through his last seven games.