Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Matt Chapman now looks like a bargain

Aug 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman (26) hits a single against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman (26) hits a single against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Blue Jays made a calculated gamble when they traded for Matt Chapman this past offseason, but so far it’s been a move that just keeps getting better.

The former Oakland A’s third baseman started his career as a Blue Jay pretty slowly, and I can understand why some fans were pretty underwhelmed with his performance in the early part of the 2022 campaign. That said, even when his batting average was hovering around the Mendoza line and he hadn’t found his power stroke just yet, the underlying numbers told us that he was really close to putting it together.

That’s exactly what the 29 year old has done since his early-season struggles, and since the calendar flipped to June he’s been one of the better hitters in the Blue Jays’ lineup.

Just have a look at a few of his splits, with the numbers not reflecting last night’s game against the Cubs.

1st half-   .227/.300/.428, 15 HR, 45 RBI over 304 at-bats
2nd half-   .261/.367/.546, 9 HR, 19 RBI, over 119 at-bats

To be fair, he has shown himself to be a bit of a streaky hitter at times, as we can see from his month to month splits. Leaving the power numbers out of the equation, which have improved as the year has gone on, most of the story is told in his slash line alone.

Mar/Apr–   .225/.287/.425
May-           .179/.286/.286
June-           .264/.333/.517
July-             .325/.396/.699
Aug-            .191/.294/.382

Admittedly Chapman hasn’t been as good over the month of August, but he still finds ways to contribute in a big way even when things aren’t going his way in the batter’s box. Whether that’s with his Platinum Glove calibre defence, or the veteran presence and tutelage he can provide for his younger teammates, he’s an important player to have on the active roster.

While there were some fans that were a little disappointed when the Blue Jays acquired him from Oakland, that’s mostly because it meant that they likely wouldn’t be able to also trade for Jose Ramirez, who was a long-rumoured target in Toronto. As far as consolation prizes go, Chapman has been about as good as it gets, and it definitely matters that the Jays didn’t have to pay near the same price to add him rather than to acquire J-Ram from the Guardians. If the latter had happened, at least one of Alejandro Kirk or Gabriel Moreno would likely be in Cleveland, for example.

What makes it even better is that Chapman is under contract for the 2023 season as well, and at what now looks like a bargain rate of just 12.5 million per season, both this year and next. The Blue Jays wisely bought out his last two arbitration years before he’ll hit free agency, and as long as he can stay healthy he’ll likely be a highly sought after player to fill a hole at the hot corner for another team.

A lot could happen before then, but he’s been valuable enough as a Blue Jay that I wouldn’t be surprised if they had interested in keeping him around beyond his current contract. It could depend on the development of a SS/3B prospect like Orelvis Martinez, or even the future contract negotiations for a fellow left-side infielder in Bo Bichette, but I wouldn’t rule it out at this point. Previously I believed that Chapman was likely a placeholder for young Orelvis as he finishes his minor league development over the next season or two, but now I’m not so sure.

Next. Romano emerging as a top MLB closer. dark

However things go over the next 15-18 months or so, the Blue Jays have received a lot of value from their veteran third baseman. If they manage to make an impact on the 2022 postseason, he’ll be a big reason why they got there in the first place.

facebooktwitterreddit