In the month of April, Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman was one of the hottest hitters in the league.
Through 27 games, including one late March contest against the Cardinals, Chapman posted a .384/.465/.687 slash line with 15 doubles, five home runs, and a 1.152 OPS through 99 at-bats. The former Athletics infielder led MLB in doubles, slugging, fWAR (2.1), and wRC+ (218) and also led the AL in batting average, an effort that resulted in him taking home the AL Player of the Month Award.
Known mainly for his defensive abilities, Chapman continued to play plus defense for the Jays but was also swinging a hot bat. It was a positive development for a Blue Jays lineup that also featured George Springer, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ahead of him.
Matt Chapman: From April Onward
Once the calendar flipped over to May, however, Chapman struggled to put up the same offensive numbers that set him apart in April. That trend has also carried over into June.
The third baseman has seen a dramatic decrease in almost all of his slash line stats. His batting average flirted with the Mendoza line in May and most of June, while his slugging decreased by over .375 points through May.
His extra-base hits have also taken a downward turn over the past two months, as he only has five home runs compared to the five he hit in April (although there are still four games left in June). However, the slugger continues to lead the AL in doubles with 25 on the season, and his Statcast metrics are still ranking quite well.
Chapman sits in the 99th percentile in HardHit% and in the 97th percentile in average exit velocity and barrel rate. Chapman also sits in the 89th percentile in chase rate but has struck out at a higher clip in May and June.
Defensively, Chapman continues to rank well year after year, with 7 DRS and 4 Outs Above Average, which ranks in the 89th percentile. While he didn’t take home the Gold Glove Award last season, the infielder is currently trending in the right direction for more hardware if he continues to hold his .972 fielding percentage.
Strong Campaign in a Contract Year
Chapman is poised to be the top option at the hot corner this winter should he reach free agency. The California product is having a strong campaign in his contract year, even with the slight step back in his batting stats after a hot April. Thanks to his terrific start and his dependable glove, Chapman has also found himself in the All-Star conversation, although he has tough competition from Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung.
Looking ahead, Chapman will be a key cog in the Blue Jays machine, both on the field and in the clubhouse, as the club contends in a tough AL East division and tries to carve out a spot in the postseason.
Should Chapman find the same form he had back in April, the Blue Jays will be in a great position for the second half of the campaign.