It’s not a stretch to say that Matt Chapman is the best defensive third baseman in the Major Leagues. But could he be even better this season?
“I feel good, I feel ready,” Chapman said during Spring Training Monday in Arizona. “I’m not holding anything back.”
Chapman led the A’s in batting average last season, hitting .278 over 145 games.
“I just want to win as many games as possible,” Chapman explained. “And our goal is to win the division and make it to the playoffs again.”
The Oakland A’s are counting on a big season from Chapman. They need his bat and they also need his glove. His Platinum Glove at third base.
“He’s a Platinum Glove winner,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s pretty good. It’s just about making sure he’s healthy and getting him ready for the season.”
He is ready. The two offseason surgeries Chapman had on his right thumb and his left shoulder were successful.
“Just to continue to get better,” Chapman said when asked what his won expectations for himself this season are. “You can’t control those things. Obviously. you want to get better every single year. I expect to continue to get better. I worked hard to get better.”
Chapman says despite his surgeries, he feels strong.
“I know bouncing back off of two surgeries you don’t always know what you’re going to get,” Chapman said. “But I feel strong, I feel confident. I’m more so worried about the team. I think the most important thing for me is to find ways to help the team win.”
And part of that confidence comes from the fact the A’s won 97 games last season.