Player: Matt Chapman
Drafted by: Oakland Athletics
DOB: 04/28/1993 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 205 lbs
School: Cal State Fullerton
Previous Drafted: Never Drafted
Matt Chapman made a name for himself in 2012 as a true freshman, posting a solid .286/.340/.370 batting line with two home runs while playing in 53 games for Cal State Fullerton. As a sophomore the following year, Chapman showed improvement on all fronts, as he showcased more consistent power with 19 extra-base hits (five homers), tallied 37 RBI and posted a drastically improved 29-34 ratio of strikeouts to walks.
Chapman’s impressive sophomore campaign led to his selection to play for the USA Collegiate Team last summer, where he continued to add to his growing resume by batting .278/.396/.361 and ranked second on the team with six doubles and 14 walks.
The 21-year-old’s all-around improvement has produced career highs this season in batting average (.321), on-base percentage (.418), slugging (.516), doubles (15), home runs (six) and RBI (46), while his defense at the hot corner has been as reliable as ever.
While those who questioned Chapman’s offensive potential have to be pleased with his overall progress this season, any team willing to take a Day 1 flier on the Cal State Fullerton third baseman will have to be a firm believer in his untapped power potential.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Right-handed batter with a mature 6’2”, 205-pound build; swing is quiet and geared toward hitting line drives from gap to gap; will occasionally rush his load and weight transfer; patient approach is a product of his advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition; can get stuck between being too aggressive and too passive at times, but he also picks his spots to cut it loose.
Limited hit-tool projection due to the amount of swing-and-miss in his game; feel for making in-game adjustments this season has been better, though he still can be beaten by elevated velocity and nasty breaking stuff; has the potential to be an impact third baseman if the hit tool develops beyond expectations.
Chapman’s plus raw power shows more in batting practice than games; above-average bat speed is partially strength-driven, but he does have strong wrists/forearms as well as good hip rotation; drives the ball with backspin carry to his pull side and center field.
Swing generally isn’t conducive for consistent power; he’ll tie himself up with a short, quiet stride and struggle to achieve an ideal contact point; hands can get too far away from his body and limit him to only pull-side power; the potential is there for him to develop 60-grade pop with adjustments to his swing and approach.
Slightly below-average speed makes him serviceable on the basepaths; doesn’t impact his long-term projection at third base.
Boasts legitimate plus-plus arm strength that will rank among the best in the majors once he arrives (seriously—it’s an absolute hose); gets rid of the ball quickly and throws through his target with good accuracy; isn’t afraid to show it off when given the opportunity; took the mound last summer for Team USA and sat 94-98 mph (T99) with his fastball; could be a potential backup plan should his bat not develop as hoped.
Underrated athleticism at third base translates to average range; shows soft hands and a consistent glove; footwork is decent despite an overall lack of quickness; struggles to control his body at times; could potentially move across the infield to first base, though it would be a waste of his huge arm strength; compensates for some of his defensive shortcomings with good instincts and an advanced feel for the game.
MLB Player Comparison: Troy Glaus
Chapman’s game parallels that of Troy Glaus, as both players are right-handed-hitting third basemen with big raw power, questionable hit tools, plus-plus arm strength and the ability to play at least average defense. However, keep in mind that the comparison only works if Chapman improves his power frequency.
Projection: Second-division third baseman
Major Leagues ETA: Mid-2016
Chances of Signing: 90 percent
Chapman stands out for his power and ability to hold down a long-term corner infield position in a draft class that’s thin on projectable hitters, let alone college ones. The 21-year-old has the potential to come off the board anywhere in the first two rounds, but a team that believes he’s an everyday guy could decide to take a flier on him earlier than expected.
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