A’s prospect Matt Chapman may have strongest arm in minors

The A’s have a strong and what I consider to be a very underrated farm system. They are always put in the middle of the pack, when in fact, they should be ranked much higher.

All these kids are going to be MLB-ready around the same time for the Oakland Athletics, building a young core for the A’s to have for years to come.

If they find a new stadium site and gain some extra revenue, team president Dave Kaval has implied that they will then be able to finally keep players around for longer than the time they hit arbitration or free agency.

MLBPipeline.com released its all-defense team on Monday and A’s prospect Matt Chapman was on the top of the list of all minor league defensive third baseman.

His placement on the all-defense team stands from Chapman’s incredibly strong arm. He has a cannon that he once used as during a short pitching stint he made while on the U.S. college national team. Chapman was able to throw pitches up to 98 mph.

He’s got great range, great hands and makes spectacular defensive plays with ease and regularity. But he isn’t just simply a defensive star on the field. His numbers at the plate also speak for themselves.

Chapman, the A’s number one draft pick in 2014, was signed after his junior year at Cal State Fullerton.

By 2015, Chapman was already playing with the High Class-A Stockton Ports. He played in just 80 games that season due to a knee injury and later an ailing wrist injury, however, that did not stop him from leading the A’s minor leaguers with 23 home runs to go along with 57 RBI, 21 doubles and three triples.

Matt Chapman, Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Chapman.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

While there is some swing and miss in his game, Chapman makes hard, line-drive contact and has the ability to use the entire field.

Chapman spent most of 2016 with the Double-A Midland Rockhounds hitting .244/.335/.521 over the course of 117 games.

The 23-year-old right hander hit 29 home runs for the Rockhounds and drove in 83 before being promoted to the A’s Triple-A affiliate in Nashville.

While only playing in 18 games for the Nashville sounds, Chapman hit seven home runs while tacking on another 13 RBI to his 2016 totals.

Even though Ryon Healy was called up from Midland last season to play third base for Oakland in July, the more likely scenario is that Healy, who hit 13 home runs in just 72 games for the A’s in 2016, will move to first base when the team feels ready to bring Chapman up into the majors.

That may not be until 2018 with the team having just signed third baseman Trevor Plouffe and avoided arbitration on a one-year deal with first baseman Yonder Alonso, but Chapman is on his way to the major leagues and when he gets there he’s going to make quite an impact with both his offensive and defensive skills.

Rajai Davis returns to play center field for the Oakland Athletics.

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