Blue Jays: Matt Chapman is red-hot to start what could be his final year in Toronto

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

When the Blue Jays traded for third baseman Matt Chapman in March of 2022, they couldn’t have expected more than what he has provided. The start of the 2023 season for Chapman has seen him off to a red-hot start and one that has carried the Blue Jays offense.

His stats in the first five games are all you need to know to see how much he has improved since the end of last season. Chapman leads all of baseball in batting average (.579) and hits (11). The way he looks at the plate definitely looks different than previous seasons. In the offseason, he attended a camp with teammate Bo Bichette and former Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. After this camp he added a toe tap at the plate. This new strategy has helped him gain a better rhythm and timing at the plate, ultimately allowing him to be able to hit the ball all over the field. Manager John Schneider now has a new toy to play with in the cleanup spot. With the loss of Teoscar Hernández, the Jays lineup has been scrambling for a new fourth and they may have found it in Chapman.

The only thing we are still waiting to see from him is the power. Over his career, power has been his number one strength as he hit for 27 home runs in both 2021 and 2022. Once he finds his home run power again, his red-hot start will become even better and will put the league on notice that he has one of the best bats in baseball.

In the field he has continued to be everything that the fans and the organization want him to be. Other than one fielding error during the second game of the season against the Cardinals, he has been perfect for the Blue Jays. 

Over the course of his career, he has been mainly a power hitter and has never really shown an ability to hit for a high average until now. One of the reasons as to why he has suddenly changed his approach is because it is a contract year for him. At the end of this year, Chapman will become a free agent and will be possibly looking for a new home if the Blue Jays don’t give him the offer he wants. In a free agent class that is not the best, hitting for both power and average will definitely boost his stock which could get him a contract well over the $200M mark.

The ball is in the Blue Jays court when it comes to re-signing Chapman. His start at the plate and his incredible defense have forced the front office to give him a big contract if they want to keep him around. His agent, Scott Boras, is one of the best in the business and has shown many times that he knows how to get his players the big contracts that they want. He is also known as an extremely tough negotiator.

The new found rhythm that Chapman has found is a great surprise for the Blue Jays that they didn’t expect especially after the spring he had. It took him quite some time to get his swing in check, but now he has found his stride. Being on a contending team has led to new found opportunities and this year he seems more motivated than ever to help lead the Blue Jays to a great season.

The best-case scenario for both parties is that the Jays give him the contract that he wants and then they get to keep one of the best third baseman in baseball. Obviously, he cannot stay on this pace, but if he stays anywhere near this, he will become one of the most important pieces for the Jays moving forward.

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