Matt Chapman has made his way into the best third baseman in baseball conversation -- unfortunately, the All-Star votes aren't mirroring that ... for now.
If you like to debate -- and I know you do -- about the subject, Colorado Rockies' Nolan Arenado and Houston Astros' Alex Bregman without a doubt are brought into the conversation as the two hot corner men in the game. And it turns out, they each have mutual respect for each other. The even pick one another's brains.
"[Bregman] asks me questions about defense a lot -- I try to help him out, but he has a pretty good idea of what he wants to do -- he's such a smart baseball player," Chapman said on "The Jim Rome Show" on Wednesday. "I try to pick his brain about how he is in the box and what he thinks about in the box and what pitches he hunts."
Chapman knows the two have very different swings. Bregman has a tendency to be more compact while Chapman's is a bit longer.
"I try to just see what his approach is. I feel like when he gets in the batter's box he knows exactly what he wants to do. I don't see him out of control very often and he doesn't strike out very much."
"I try to help him with anything I can -- maybe I just make him laugh."
Arenado, another favorite of Rome's, said even he himself wasn't as good of a third baseman as Chapman.
That's a hell of a compliment from someone whose résumé includes four All-Star selections, six Gold Glove Awards and two Platinum Glove Awards.
Chapman also was asked about the successful campaign the A's had last year detailing the ups and downs of a season that ended too soon.
"When nobody expected anything out of us -- to be able to do what we did, was pretty cool."
Still, it was a contrasting experience from the regular season to those later months.
"There's definitely a big difference -- I mean yes and no -- it's a big difference from the preparation, the things around it, and probably the feeling inside before the game," Chapman explained. "You know, definitely a little more emphasis on the game. "After my first at-bat, I felt like it slowed down a bit for me. It was a lot of fun -- I wish it wasn't so short lived."
And short-lived it was indeed. Just one game would bring the team's 97-win season to an end. A game that was difficult from the get-go.
"Going into Yankee Stadium was tough," he said.
The Yankees had home-field advantage and got off to a fast start in the American League Wild Card, grabbing a 7-2 win.
"But I think we can look back and be proud of what we accomplished, and learn a lot from that game and maybe chip back a little bit more in a playoff game," Chapman explained. "I think we learned how to handle those emotions."