Oakland Athletics prospect Matt Chapman was listed as of the the MLB.com Top 100 prospects to start the 2017 season.
Chapman plays at third base and shortstop. He’s expected to start the year with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.
The 23-year-old was listed as the No. 6 third baseman in the minor league system this year.
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1). Chapman was a first round pick of the Athletics in the 2014 MLB Draft
The Athletics drafted Chapman with the 25th pick of the 2014 draft and has quickly made his mark through the farm system. He played four years at Cal State Fullerton before getting drafted by the team from the Bay Area. Chapman was in the same class as the Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber and the Chicago White Sox’s Carlos Rondon.
2). Chapman was invited to spring training last year and quickly made an impression
When the spring training rosters come out, not a lot of people recognize the young players. Chapman made an impression on coaches in spring training last year and it the idea of Chapman switching from third base to shortstop was broached while he was playing at Double-A Midland last year.
“It’s all open,” Keith Lieppman, the director of player development. said in a 2016 interview with CSN Bay Area. “Everybody who sees him play there says he’s got great reactions, a big arm, good hands. So let’s start playing around with it to see how good he can be there.”
3). Chapman slugged 23 homers in 2015 and 36 homers in 2016.
The Victorville, Calif. showed off his slugging prowess in his first two full seasons in the A’s organization. In his first year with Single-A Advanced Stockton. He hit 23 home runs and had 57 RBI in 80 games.
The next year, Chapman split time between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville and slugged 36 home runs total. He hit 29 for Midland and seven for Nashville.
4). Chapman is getting high praise already
Last spring, Chapman not only impressed team officials but also seemed to be the media darling that Bay Area reporters have been hoping for. The Mercury News predicted that he could make an impact with Oakland in the future. Chapman kept a level head when talking to reporters.
“It makes it feel like it’s within reach, that all the work you put in as a kid, then in high school and college, and especially this past offseason, you’re finally seeing some dividends from that work,” he said. “It’s nice to get rewarded for working hard.”
5). When is Chapman expected to get to the majors?
MLB.com estimates that Chapman could see the major leagues this season. He’s already highly-regarded as a power hitter and scouts believe he’s a future Gold Glove winner at whichever position the team puts him at.
According to the most recent Roster Resource prediction, Chapman has Marcus Semien and Trevor Plouffe to beat out for a starting spot.