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The season that was: Matt Chapman

MLB: Wild Card-Seattle Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Chapman came to us in trade from the Oakland A’s, back in March, for Gunnar Hoglund, Kevin Smith, Zach Logue and Kirby Snead.

Chapman wasn’t coming off the best of years, offensively anyway. We hoped that moving from the very pitcher-friendly park in Oakland to the much more batter-friendly Rogers Centre and of course, we had very warm feelings from the last third baseman we picked up from the A’s.

Let’s start with a look at how the players sent to Oakland made out this year:

  • Hoglund was the prize piece going to the A’s. He pitched in 3 games, 2 in Rookie League and one in A-Ball. 8 innings in total, 7 hits, 2 unearned runs, no walks and 7 strikeouts. It will be a few years before we know Hoglund will become the pitcher we hoped to see, back when the Jays picked him in the first round of the 2021 draft.
  • Smith split time between Triple-A Las Vegas and the big league team. For the A’s he hit .180/.216/.302 in 47 games. In Vegas .268/.331/.446. He’s 26 now. If he’s going to have a major league career, it is going to have to start soon.
  • Logue also split time between Vegas and Oakland. For the A’s he was 3-8 with a 6.95 ERA in 14 games, 10 starts. He allowed 68 hits, 13 home runs, and 20 walks with 42 strikeouts in 57 innings. In Vegas, if a big-time hitter’s park and hitter’s league he had an 8.12 ERA in 17 starts. He is also 26. I don’t know if his future is in the rotation, but he’ll get every chance in Oakland.
  • Snead played mostly for the A’s, making 46 relief appearances. He had a 5.84 ERA in 44.2 innings with 56 hits, 22 walks and 35 strikeouts. He is 28. He was the third lefty in the A’s pen.

And how did Matt do? Well, since you asked:

Standard Batting
29 155 621 538 83 123 27 1 27 76 2 2 68 170 .229 .324 .433 .757 115 7 10 5 1
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2022.

So slightly better than average with the bat (115 OPS+).

Baseball Reference has him at a 3.5 WAR. FanGraphs 4.1, giving him a value of $33.1 million to the Jays. I bet that comes as a surprise.

Matt had a .331 wOBA (up from .311 last year) and a 117 wRC+ (up from 102).

His BABIP was .277 (.272 last year).

Matt’s walk rate was 11.0% (down from 12.9) and his strikeout rate was 27.4% (down from 32.7).

His line drive rate was up (17.4% from 14.6). Ground ball rate is about the same (34.0% from 33.6). And fly ball rate is down (48.5% from 51.8). 14.8 of his fly balls left the park (slightly down from last year’s 15.5). I don’t know how more of his fly balls left the park in Oakland than in Toronto.

Soft contact was down (16.4% from 19.6). Hard contact was up a lot (40.2% from 31.1). He was sixth in the majors for hardball rate.

Chapman his LHP (.245/.322/.425) much the same as RHP (.225/.324/.435). He’s been pretty much even for his career.

He hit much better at home (.240/.333/.492) than on the road (.218/.315/.379).

And he hit better in the second half of the season (.231/.352/.440) than the first half (..227/.300/.428).

Chapman by month:

  • April: .225/.287/.425 with 4 home runs, 7 walks and 26 strikeouts in 22 games.
  • May: .179/.286/.286 with 2 home runs, 12 walks and 22 strikeouts in 26 games.
  • June: .264/.333/.517 with 5 home runs, 7 walks and 21 strikeouts in 23 games.
  • July: .325/.396/.699 with 9 home runs, 9 walks and 29 strikeouts in 25 games.
  • August: .198/.3000/.385 with 4 home runs, 12 walks and 35 strikeouts in 27 games.
  • September: .194/.336/.324 with 3 home runs, 21 walks and 37 strikeouts in 32 games.

If only every month could have been like July.

Matt hit .234/.353/.416 with RISP.

On defense? I loved watching him play. UZR had him at a 4.3/150. Outs above average had him at a +1. So the stats, while good, didn’t match my eye.

He made just 5 errors at third, 1 fielding, 4 throwing. His Fielding Average was .988 (the league average at third was .967.

He is a finalist for the Gold Glove.

Fangraphs had him at 3.1 runs above average as a base runner. He must have good instincts on the bases. He was 2 for 4 as a base stealer.

Matt’s spot in the batting order:

  • 1st 3 times (he had a .143 on-base percentage in those games).
  • 4th 8 times.
  • 5th 32 times.
  • 6th 44 times.
  • 7th 65 times.

His longest hitting streak was 8 games. The longest on-base streak was 11 games.

The longest he went without a home run was 25 games.

His favourite team to face? He hit 313/.421/1.063 in 6 games against the Tigers. He was also great against his former team, hitting .400/.478/.850 against the A’s.

Least favourite? He hit just .086/.200/.086 in 19 games against the Rays.

With his hard contact rate, I’d expect him to hit better. He did seem to be hitting in bad luck for a good part of the season. I think if Matt continues to hit the ball as hard as he did this year, good things will happen.

He is a free agent after this next season. It will be interesting to see if we will want to pay him or if they will want to open up a spot for Orelvis Martinez. It seems, anecdotally, that players have a good season going into free agency. I’d be good with that.

His defense looked better than the numbers showed, but he definitely settled things down at third. He always seemed to hit the target on throws to first. And he seemed to make good choices when he got the ball.

I guess there is a question on whether the Jays would have been better off keeping Marcus Semien but considering the contract that Marcus signed, there really isn’t a comparison. Marcus didn’t have the best of seasons, hitting .248/.304/.429 (still good for a 5.7 bWAR). They both seem like great guys to have on a team.


For his 2022 season I’d grade Matt Chapman an

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