Athletics

Athletics

Matt Chapman is an elite defensive player. That has been known ever since he made his MLB debut for the A's in June 2017, and well before that. 

Chapman, 26, won a Gold Glove in each of the last two seasons. He also was awarded the AL Rawlings Platinum Glove in 2018 and 2019, and was named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year after both of those seasons.

If you watch an A's game, it's easy to see what an elite third baseman the former first-round pick is. But a new Statcast defensive metric for infielders truly shows his greatness. There still is one third baseman ahead of him, though. 

Outs Above Average has been limited to outfielders the last two seasons. Not anymore. The metric now can be used for infielders as well. What exactly is OAA, though? MLB.com's Mike Petriello explained with this deep dive, however, there are four simple components to creating it.

1. How far the fielder has to go to reach the ball
2. How much time he has to get there
3. How far he then is from the base the runner is going to
4. On force plays, how fast the batter is, on average

The play doesn't always require a throw, though. Kind of like this ridiculous Chapman catch against the San Francisco Giants. 

So, where does Chapman rank among infielders for OAA? Last season, he finished sixth in all of baseball, behind the following: Cubs shortstop Javier Baez (19 OAA), Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (17 OAA), Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons (16 OAA), D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed (16 OAA) and Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (15 OAA). 

 

For good measure, A's first baseman Matt Olson led his position with 12 OAA -- good for eighth in the major leagues.

Chapman is elite at coming in on the ball towards home plate. He was worth 8 OAA on those plays, while Arenado wasn't worth any OAA on such plays. 

He also was worth 4 OAA on plays where he had to move to his left, 1 OAA on plays to his right and 1 OAA on plays where he had to move back or the ball was behind him. He's how Arenado scored: 12 OAA on plays to his left, 4 OAA on plays to his right and 1 OAA on plays he moved back. 

[RELATED: Why Chapman, Olson are A's best prospects from the 2010s]

The A's star third baseman quickly has turned into of the best all-around players in the game. OAA is a great way to show where he thrives the most defensively, and it will be interesting to see if he can take his game to the next level at certain areas in 2020. 

One thing's for sure. Chapman has a lot more gold, and platinum, in his future.