Alex Bregman

A's Matt Chapman discusses where he ranks among elite third baseman

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USATSI

A's Matt Chapman discusses where he ranks among elite third baseman

OAKLAND -- When it comes to deciding who the best third baseman is in baseball, it could make for an interesting debate.

But we can all agree the defensive edge goes to Matt Chapman, right? Right?! Well, maybe. He has some tough competition. 

I asked him between himself, Rockies' third baseman Nolan Arenado and Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who would rank at the top. 

"Another one that just got thrown into our division, too, Anthony Rendon, but I've never seen him play -- I would probably say Nolan's probably got the edge right now," Chapman told NBC Sports California. "And then Bregman, because I've never finished in the top three of MVP like those guys have and I've never hit 40 home runs like they have."

"I might have the edge on defense a little bit, but Nolan's a combo of both."

Chapman admitted Bregman has the better bat.

Bregman's numbers have improved over the years and he posted a .296/.423/.592 line with 41 home runs in 2019. 

"I might have defense over [Bregman], but Nolan has both of us combined it seems like," Chapman said. 

Arenado's resume is filled with five All-Star selections, seven Gold Glove Awards, three Platinum and four Silver Sluggers. He too, hit 41 home runs last season which tends to be a type of norm for him over his career. 

So Arenado, Chapman's former teammate at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, Calif., wins in his eyes. 

At least for now. 

"I can hopefully give him a run for his money one day," Chapman said. 

The new defensive stats certainly help Chapman's case. The OAA, or Outs Above Average, stat has been introduced to the world of baseball for stat nerds to salivate over.

Chapman ranks sixth in the metric, in all of baseball -- and you can learn more about that measurement, here. It's something the two-time Platinum Glove winner is curious about. 

"It's cool to have that, but I think Defensive Runs Saved is number one," Chapman said.

He joked he only cares about a defensive stat where he's at the top.

"Maybe because I'm not first in that category, so I don't think it's worth, you know anything," Chapman laughed. "You know, if I'm not the best, then it's stupid."

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"I'm joking about that, but sadly, almost being truthful about that," Chapman said. "I need to know more about how they get that because I feel like I play so deep -- I don't dive on as many balls. I might have to play more routinely and it doesn't look like it's an above-average play just because it doesn't fit that criteria so I have to hear more about it, so defensive runs for me is a good checkpoint."

The A's led the league in DEF (Defensive Runs Above Average) last season with 42.9 and were 10th in DRS. Chapman alone ranked seventh in the league in DRS with 18.

A's infielders Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien aim to be top duo in 2020

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USATSI

A's infielders Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien aim to be top duo in 2020

The A's infield -- while we wait for the final determinant as to who the second base starter will be -- as of now looks unstoppable.

The left side particularly could create some fear in 2020 with Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien holding down the fort. But beyond the gloves, they're overall the top duo in the game.

In 2019, they combined to hold the top WAR in a group of top teammates across the league.

A 14.8 WAR between Chapman and Semien last season placed them just barely above Dodgers' Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy (14.7) and Alex Bregman and George Springer (14.6).

Next season, the Los Angeles Angels will have both Mike Trout and newly acquired third baseman Anthony Rendon to create some buzz -- and hopefully, take some of the workload off Trout. 

That's not only quite the group to be paired with, but to be atop them all is impressive, to say the least.

In addition to his Gold and Platinum Glove honors, Chappy earned his first All-Star selection in 2019 and was in MVP talks. He finished his 2019 campaign batting .249/.342/.506 line with 36 home runs and 91 RBI.

Chapman stood out with his web-gem defensive ways and the ability to cover all of the foul territory the Oakland Coliseum has to offer.

Those MVP talks were there with Semien as well, but perhaps they were a little louder about the A's shortstop. He landed in third place for the AL MVP Award behind Trout and Bregman.

Semien started in all 162 games with a league-leading 747 plate appearances and a .285/.369/.522 line with 33 home runs and 187 hits. 

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You know what they say -- all is fair in love and WAR.

Nobody says that -- I've just always wanted to write that in an article.

A's Marcus Semien, Liam Hendriks deserving of MLB All-Team honors

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A's Marcus Semien, Liam Hendriks deserving of MLB All-Team honors

Major League Baseball has initiated the first-ever All-MLB Team. This was put forth for fans to vote on their favorite players from the 2019 season's entirety.

This is a bit like the All-Star selections only that, in this case, it's not in the middle of the season, and with these, there are both first and second teams. Also, this team will not be broken up by leagues and players were previously nominated -- pretty cool, right?

I voted for my 2019 All-MLB Team and here are my results:

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso put on a show at the plate this season and during the Home Run Derby. Sure, we dig the long ball, but we also appreciate a guy who shows his emotions when he does something great on the field, like setting a rookie home-run record with 53 dingers this season.

The middle-infielders as of late have become these gems filled with power, which is a characteristic we didn't see in the earlier eras of the game. 

For second base, Houston Astros star José Altuve proved once again why he is a constant force to be reckoned with. The six-time All-Star finished his 2019 campaign slashing .298/.353/.550 with 31 home runs and 74 RBI in 124 games. 

Marcus Semien was the vote at the shortstop position. While there were plenty that deserved the honors (Jorge Polanco and Xander Bogaerts should not go unmentioned), Semien was such a fascinating player this season.

Sure, there's a slight bias over here, but imagine having someone only get better as the season went on. Semien started in all 162 games this season and showed no signs of tiring, finishing with 33 homers and doubling last season's total. He was also third in AL MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Alex Bregman. 

Semien didn't receive All-Star honors this season, which is a shame. He deserves something after the show he put on.

Speaking of Bregman ... I voted for him at third base, the position that was the toughest to select across the roster.

He, Matt Chapman and Nolan Arenado each put up a phenomenal season and reminded you just why it's called the hot corner.

For Bregman, he was sensational across the board in each hitting category, finishing 2019 with a .296 average, 41 homers and a 1.015 OPS. Arenado matched Bregman's long-ball numbers with 41, but ya know -- Coors. 

And that energy is contagious.

Outfielders were easy to vote for.

Trout, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich. I really hope you guys won't argue with me on those.

The starting pitchers, for the most part, hosted arms from the final two teams still playing October baseball. Justin Verlander earned his second Cy Young Award, posting a 2.58 ERA with 300 strikeouts in 223 innings and an MLB-leading 0.80 WHIP.

Well-deserved. 

Verlander's former teammate Gerrit Cole was behind him in Cy Young voting, leading the AL with a 2.50 ERA and MLB with 326 strikeouts and 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

I also voted for Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and once again, I hope there are no arguments there. If there is, I have plenty of photos of them drenched in champagne celebrating a World Series championship to back me up.

Former A and current Cincinnati Red Sonny Gray didn't reach his 2015 heights, but he dropped his ERA drastically from his 2018 campaign, boasting a 2.87 ERA with the Redlegs. His season deserved to be recognized.

From the bullpen, A's Liam Hendriks got a vote because he not only put up the numbers but switched to closer role responsibilities and did it smoothly and masterfully.

He finished his 2019 All-Star season with a 1.80 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 85 innings with a 0.97 WHIP.

[RELATED: Hendriks shift in energy factors in success with A's]

How'd I do? Let me know.

The winners for first and second-team honors will be announced at this year's Winter Meetings in San Diego.