Blue Jays’ Matt Chapman Should Be the AL Player of the Month
Matt Chapman has been tearing the cover off the baseball since Opening Day, helping Toronto get off to an excellent start in 2023.
The Toronto Blue Jays had one of their best starts in franchise history this past month, and one of the major reasons why was third baseman, Matt Chapman.
After such a hot start to the season, Chapman has not only made the MLB April All-Star team, but he is also in line to take home the AL Player of the Month Award, with the announcement set to take place on Wednesday, May 3rd.
Acquired by Toronto prior to the 2022 season, Chapman has put up video game-like numbers to start the year, posting a .384/.465/.687 with five home runs and a 1.152 OPS through the month of April. Heading into May, he led the league in doubles (15), total bases (68), OPS+ (219), and fWAR (2.0) while also leading the AL in hits (38), batting average, and on-base percentage. His 15 doubles in April ties him with Mike Lowell for the most through the first month of the season.
Looking at the Statcast metrics, the Jays’ third baseman sits in the 99th percentile in HardHit%, xSLG, xwOBA, and Barrel%. His league-leading 20.2% barrels/PA is 4.8% higher than that of Joey Gallo in second place. Chapman has absolutely crushed fastballs and offspeed pitches, amassing a .368 AVG and a .643 AVG, respectively, against the two pitches.
Defensively, Chapman sports a .970 fielding percentage with two errors. He has posted 2 DRS but only sits in the 10th percentile in Outs Above Average. While the defensive metrics seem off for the sure-handed third baseman, Chapman has been solid for the Blue Jays and makes the routine plays as needed.
A free agent at the end of this season, Chapman has certainly set himself up well after a torrid start to the year. He will be the prime third base target this offseason, since Rafael Devers and Manny Machado inked long-term extensions with their respective clubs this past winter. While the Jays and their fanbase likely want to keep Chapman in the mix long-term, the Cal State alum is repped by super agent Scott Boras and will easily command a large raise over the $12.5 million he is earning this season.
For now, Chapman will be a key force for the Jays moving forward in a tough AL East division as Toronto looks to make the postseason for a second consecutive season.