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.”