Athletics

Matt Chapman can be even better for A's in 2019 after breakout season

Matt Chapman can be even better for A's in 2019 after breakout season

MESA, Ariz. -- Matt Chapman debuted in 2017, and emerged in 2018.

How many of us really knew a “Platinum Glove” award even existed?

“I think they made it just for him, to tell you the truth,” A's manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s always been about the Gold Glove, but you look at the metrics and you feel like they created it for Matt Chapman.”

There’s no question that defense is the calling card for Oakland’s third baseman. He regularly appears on the highlight reels, making the difficult plays look routine.  

However, offense was his biggest personal improvement last season. It’s also what Melvin believes will take his young star to another level in 2019.

“The scary part is that there’s a lot of room for growth," the manager said. "Offensively, you saw the adjustments and the strides he made from the first to second half of the year. It all came with the adjustment of laying off that ball, off the plate away."

Looking back at Chapman’s stats, the month of June as a tipping point was clear. He had just come back from injury, and soon found the permanent role as Oakland’s No. 2 hitter in the lineup.

Overall, Chapman's batting average was 59 points higher in the second half of 2018. Melvin knows that split was not just by chance.

[A's 2019 projections: Matt Chapman to continue domination, improvement]

“It was trying to figure out where that outside corner was. Once he had a grasp of that, the numbers speak for themselves," Melvin said. "The talent level is off the charts, and he has the chance to get even better -- believe it or not.”

Liam Hendriks, A's thank medical field during coronavirus pandemic

Liam Hendriks, A's thank medical field during coronavirus pandemic

During this unprecedented time amid the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), it’s given us an opportunity to give thanks to those who so selflessly have been working hard to ensure the rest of us stay safe. 

For A’s closer Liam Hendriks, he wanted to give a special shoutout to those in the medical field working hard:

 “We, as an Oakland Athletics organization, want to say, ‘Thank you,’ for everything you’re doing, please stay safe,” he said via the A’s Instagram account.

Hendriks personally has felt the devastation the coronavirus has brought upon us as a society. He revealed recently that a friend of his, Conrad Buchanan, died due to COVID-19. Hendriks announced the news on Instagram last week and urged the world to stay home, “not only for your health, but for the sake of others as well.”

[RELATED: What Canha misses most during MLB hiatus]

Hendriks also wrote that Buchanan is survived by his wife and daughter.

MLB The Show 20 player ratings: Where A’s roster ended up on 100 scale

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MLB The Show 20 player ratings: Where A’s roster ended up on 100 scale

We won't have live Oakland A’s baseball for a while. For now, we have to improvise.

One of the ways the league is making sure everyone stays home is by implementing a way to watch MLB The Show 20 in a tournament put on by the players themselves.

In the game, you’re able to create essentially your own legacy in Major League Baseball.

Just like most games based on professional sports, each individual is given an overall rating.

Here are how some of the A’s players fared, out of a possible best score of 100:

3B Matt Chapman: 92
Closer Liam Hendriks: 88
1B Matt Olson: 86
SS Marcus Semien: 85
CF Ramón Laureano: 83
RP Joakim Soria: 83
SP Sean Manaea: 81
RP Yusmeiro Petit: 81
RP J.B. Wendelken: 78
P Frankie Montas: 76

You can see the rest of the A’s numbers, as well as other players across the league, in this video:

For Matt Chapman, he’s unsurprisingly one of the best third basemen in the game according to The Show’s player ratings -- No. 4 in that category to be specific. Right behind Houston Astros star Alex Bregman, who was rated a 95. 

Nolan Arenado leads the hot corner with a 99 overall rating. Chappy earlier this year told NBC Sports California where he believed he ranked compared to Arenado, Bregman and even Anthony Rendon. Rendon was signed by the Angels in the offseason, which only beefed up the AL West at that position.

Last season, Chappy put up solid numbers earning his first All-Star selection and his second, and consecutive Gold and Platinum Glove Awards. He hit 36 home runs and slashed .249/.342/.506 with 91 RBI.

For Liam Hendriks, who was rated the second-highest on the team, he was the third-highest among closers, with Kirby Yates leading the category.

Last season, Hendriks was sensational with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.965 WHIP in 85 innings. He also earned the first All-Star selection of his career.

[RELATED: Mike Fiers details mentality behind no-hitters]

Marcus Semien also earned high marks with his 85 rating. He was tied with the likes of Adalberto Mondesi, Carlos Correa and Trea Turner. Not a bad group to be associated with.

The ratings at shortstop had a lot to do with fielding abilities. Despite the shift in power we get to see among middle infielders, the glove was a highlight here -- but the bats were all but ignored. Semien has improved drastically over the last couple of seasons with both his glove and offensive game. He was appreciated here.

Angels star Mike Trout also received a 99 rating, which goes to show who the rest of the league has to measure up to.