Here’s what A's third baseman Matt Chapman told me about the potential of winning a Gold Glove back in September.
“It’s important to me. I’m not going to lie. I want to be the best. To be the best, that comes with the territory,” Chapman said. “Do I deserve it? I don’t know. That’s not for me to decide. I think I’ve done a lot of things to deserve it. But I’ve also done some things to not deserve it, like a lot of errors.”
By the end of 2017, it was clear what Chapman’s glove was capable of.
By the end of 2018, it was clear he’s already one of the best in the game.
On Sunday, Chapman won his first career AL Gold Glove.
A quick rundown on the metrics: Chapman led ALL major league fielders in defensive runs saved… and as for third basemen… none had more total chances, or assists… or “out of zone” plays. Where Chapman made outs on parts of the field the average 3rd baseman does not.
And then there’s hitting. But you know what, Chapman's .278 average, 100 runs scored and 24 dingers should have nothing to do with a defensive award. But let's face it, they certainly did play into the subliminal of voters.
Beyond all that, I’m here to tell you Chapman deserved this honor most due to the eye test.
Chapman will tell you he still made some correctable errors this season. But from my perspective, he was virtually flawless on a regular basis. Not only making the routine plays, but making the difficult plays look routine.
Whether it was charging on bunts, going backhand down the line, going glove side in the 5-6 hole, or turning his back and making unreal catches in foul ground, if you watched Chapman this past season, you knew there wasn’t any real weak spot in his defense.
I’d like to add from watching him take infield countless times before games at the Coliseum, none of this comes as a surprise. Manager Bob Melvin hits Chapman all the routine practice grounders first. And then moves on to what many would consider the “trick” defensive plays.
So much effort goes into his performance, and it’s so fulfilling to see that a Gold Glove is the end individual result of 2018. And probably many more seasons to come.