Before I get a “now wait a tiff there gov’ner, Chapman is bollocks!” I want to say I hear you, or in this case, I read you, but if I’m going to go with a British-themed title, I’m going to make it cheery to stay on brand. Not only am I positive in nature, I also enjoy consuming Gordon Ramsey content and often dream of swimming with folded newspapers full of fish and chips. So if there’s going to be a baseball player that allows me to world-build, or English-build, I’m going to make Bob my uncle. And through Matt Chapman, I have found both my muse and content aggregator. And let me tell you, aggregating content is really hard when your subject is hitting .200/.287/.356 for the season. Which, mind you, wouldn’t be that terrible if I was hitting that triple-slash, but I’m not. Chapman is, and while his triple-slashes have never been *that* great, he’s usually provided production through other means. But now already 47 games into the season, one has to wonder if there’s a loose pair of knickers.
That’s totally a saying. Regardless, what we have in Chapman is an interesting case of “What have you done for me lately?”. Yes, I can drop British slang while name-dropping Janet Jackson, this isn’t ‘Nam. And of course, it resonates, because we’re talking about a dude built to provide you homeruns and, you know, well, I guess that’s about it. Homeruns. True, once-and-a-while, Chapman can provide other things. Sometimes it’s a nice OBP. Sometimes it’s, uh, well. More homeruns I guess. So that’s what we have here, a two-true outcomes player 60% of the time that is a one-true outcome player 90% of the time 100% of the time. Math isn’t supposed to make sense, or so I’ve learned.
But the truth of the matter is, in comparison to last season and even career-wise, Chapman is dragging a bit, and since we’re approaching a third of the season approaching completion, it’s starting to get to a point where it would be nice to see certain players snapping out of their small-sample-sized shell and showing us who they really are. Unless they really do suck, then you know, be one with the shell. Turtle-power, as they say. “They” being Ninja Turtles.
And while I admit that there isn’t a monumental difference between his current .200/.287/.356 and last season’s .210/.314/.403, the nearly 50-point difference in slugging most certainly does show up in his homerun total for the year, now standing at six total which would put him on track to be a 20-homerun hitter, not the 30-homerun hitter we need him to be. Under normal circumstances, I would go over his profile and some of the reasons why I think Chapman will continue to do Chapman like things, for better or worse, and I’ll still do that very lightly in the next paragraph, but I think the most important stat here is comparing this season’s date-range to last season’s. Interestingly enough, in the same time span, Chapman managed to hit an eerily comparable .203/.315/.341 line in the first 47 games of the 2021 season and by May 31st of last year, had only hit five homeruns. So while I understand his lack of production may be hurting, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before and literally had zero bearing on his end of year production just last season.
Let’s not forget some other things as well! BABIP lower than last year and career, you know it. Is his exit velocity and Barrel% still in line with his career? Yessir! Is his plate discipline in line with past seasons? Sure, there’s some issues with his outside-contact, but I personally think that’s just some sampling noise still as his Z-Contact% has gone up and overall Contact% remains stable with the same Zone%.
All this is to say Matt Chapman is Matt Chapman and has been Matt Chapman. Maybe another way to get the point across is if you didn’t know who Matt Chapman was, well, now you know. It’s this guy! And I get it, coming off major hip surgery and a 2019 that saw him take a huge step forward in that one outcome department, hitting 36 homeruns, there are some factors here in terms of expectations and potential. While we all hoped we’d be drafting the 2019 Chapman, I’m here to say that we for sure have the 2021 Chapman, and while that may not be what we’re looking for, based on his current metrics, he’s not all bum and parsley and could pop one’s clogs.
Look, I have no idea what 67% of this post actually means without conferring with WETA-UK, but at the very least, the title holds true. Cheerio!
Great, now I’m hungry for Cheerios…
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.