British phrases and baseball content, name a more iconic duo. There’s actually a lot of better duos out there, but you work with what you got, and what I got is a player with a last name that can be turned into a jolly good title (so good we did it twice!), id’na that right gov’ner? But that’s where the accuracy ends, because can you really call Matt Chapman good? We tried a few months ago, and the basic TL;DR was: “He might, and we’ll see!” And of course, he might be a good person, but we’d probably want him to be a good baseball player first. Selfish! I know. And lucky for us and baseball, that definition is a bit fungible in that what he did last season was, you know, aiight. Two “i’s” for that extra vocal confirmation. I mean, the .210 batting average and .314 OBP wasn’t good, but the counting stats? Pretty good, to the tune of 27/75/72. So while we ponder the idea that maybe Chap is just neutral, we can also accept that we are stuck asking if he’s good because of a mediocre title that I locked us into. Don’t forget folks, I was born into mediocrity, molded by it, and we still have the rest of the post to go. That’s not just good, that’s great?

Considered a top-10 option at the corner going into this season, Matt Chapman had a lot of hype surrounding him. Despite the pedestrian triple-slash, he managed solid production all around (sans the speed department) and after both hitting 36 homeruns in the year leading up to the Covid-shortened season, where he also sustained an even higher ISO, the hype was well-founded. Especially when you consider the shift from the A’s offense and park to that of Toronto, you had a guy who could perhaps provide a bit more than 2019. But at this moment, he’s just giving us a slightly less 2021, which mind you, isn’t terrible, and to return to the parlance of our times or at least this post, is actually pretty good… but we still have to wonder what happened? Weren’t we supposed to get a bit more than 2021 Chapman?

Called up back in 2017, Chapman’s prospect profile was always a stable one. His development in the minors presented us with a player profile that would attract baseball and fantasy baseball fans alike. Stellar defensive marks and metrics were all well and good (BONUS POINTS), but his plus-plus raw power tool is what stood out the most. He had physical strength combined with a balanced swing and showed patience at the place to boot. While boot is more Canadian than British, it is a foreign phrase, so we’ll count it. But there were some drawbacks, with patience and a power swing sometimes comes with it strikeouts. Going deep into counts and waiting for your pitch can be forgiven, but Chapman was noted as sometimes getting a bit too homer-happy. While I’m wondering if that’s an actual thing, in a bit more granularity, he sometimes puts a bit more loft into swing, constantly trying to get under the ball, which led to weak contact and would ultimately create the artificial batting average ceiling we now see today.

But as alluded to above, you can be a good (mmm) player with a terrible batting average. Just look at Rickey Henderson, or don’t if you think that’ll make me look old. I’M A YOUNG MAN. Keep in mind that while he has yet to build on his previous success like we all expected, he still finds himself in the top-15 for Hard Hit %, right behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and ahead of Bryce Harper, not a bad nor unexpected place to be. And as mentioned, essentially his entire batting profile is mostly set to repeat last year’s numbers. His homeruns, SLG, and ISO are all in line with 2021. Something interesting to look at though is that his BABIP and BB% are all showing some variation and might offer enough space for Chapman to still bring a bit more great to his good. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Chapman’s 8.7% is not great and probably isn’t that good either and is most certainly off his career norms and comes in lower than both last season and his marquee 2019. There is room here to improve, as his swing percentage overall is down while his contact percentage has risen at the same time. You generally don’t see that with players who are struggling to hit. His BABIP also shows signs of potential regression, standing currently at .255, he should be closer to his career .290 clip, or at least the .270 mark he achieved in the oft-mentioned 2019 season. And obviously, while I haven’t outright said it, his Statcast data remains perfectly normal and is matching his past production.

So ultimately what’s the deal here? Well, I think it’s safe to say that Matt Chapman is a good baseball player. CRAZY, I KNOW! But beyond that, the question coming in basically was; was he going to match the 2022 hype? Clearly, he hasn’t yet, but I’d reckon what I’ve seen here is there’s still room to grow and while I’m sure at the end of the day we’d all be happy with what it looks like he appears set to do, and that’s be the good Matt Chapman we’ve all come to know, but we should also note that there’s perhaps enough left in his profile, and just enough time for him to have a great 2022. I won’t say that the British can help here, nor can I do much, but maybe we just need a good chap?

 

Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him on Twitter @jaywrong.

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luvdarooks
4 months ago

…for next year in a 5×5 using BA, NL $260, 11 teams. Rosters take up about 250 players including MiLB.

is a $7 O. Cruz or an $18 Swanson, or a $25 Riley the better buy NEXT year? $5 raise each year until too expensive.

Please rate your top 3 considering salary… Thanks!