Athletics

Athletics

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, NBC Sports California will be analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.

Last year, Matt Chapman won a Gold Glove and Platinum Glove. He also finished seventh in the American League MVP voting. Not bad for his first full Major League season.

Already an elite defensive third baseman, the 25-year-old made incredible strides at the plate, slashing .278/.356/.508 with 24 home runs, 42 doubles, and 68 RBI.

Chapman caught fire in the second half of the season, notching 14 homers and 25 doubles with a phenomenal .961 OPS in 64 games.

Compare that to his 2017 rookie season, where he hit just .234/.313/.472 in 84 games. The biggest reason for Chapman's improvement has been his plate discipline, as he now consistently lays off the pitch outside. He has terrific natural power, speed, and athleticism, and has already shown the ability to use the whole field.

Baseball Reference surprisingly projects Chapman to hit .263/.340/.483 with 21 home runs and 62 RBI next year, which would represent a drop-off from last season.

Perhaps they are taking his pair of offseason surgeries into account, though he is expected to be back at 100 percent in time for spring training.

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We expect Chapman to build on his breakout season and put up even better numbers at the plate, while winning another Gold Glove. If you stretch his 2018 second half numbers over a full season, it would result in 35 home runs, 63 doubles, and 99 RBI. Obviously, that type of production will be difficult to maintain over a full season, but we see no reason why he can't come close.

 

Projection: .289/.363/.521, 30 HR, 92 RBI