Matt Chapman’s production at the plate over the first three weeks of the season wasn't what the Athletics have come to expect from him. But during the last couple of games, his superstar-caliber ways have begun to peek through.
Chapman fixed some of the bad habits he created earlier in the season and admitted his solo home run and double during the A's 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla. were two of his best swings of the season.
They were needed.
“The biggest thing for me is probably timing,” Chapman said following the game. “A lot of time you can get caught up in the mechanics of your swing, and at the beginning, I was convinced my mechanics were off, but when I really look at it, my mechanics really aren’t too different than what they have been in the past when I’ve had success.”
Chapman worked on his leg kick and now is starting it a little earlier.
The 2019 All-Star is slashing .184/.298/.391 this season with four home runs and 13 RBI. Still, the last couple of games proved he’s on his way back to what we’re used to seeing in the box.
Chapman said he’s been seeing the ball better this week.
A’s starter Chris Bassitt noticed not only how much Chapman has improved at the plate, but also offered praise with how the third baseman handled the down start.
“You’re happy for him, but I’m beyond impressed with Chappy, how he’s handled basically the first month of this year,” Bassitt said. “I think if you just talk to him 1-on-1, he would be really disappointed how he started off the year, but how he’s brought it every single day, how he’s been positive every single day, not allow his offense to basically start the year to kind of leak into his defense.
“He’s truly, truly growing into a leader and it’s very exciting to see,” Bassitt added. “Obviously, everyone knows his offense is going to come, and obviously, hopefully, today’s game sparks that, but I mean. He couldn’t handle the lack of success basically for the first month better. He’s maturing very quickly.”