Baltimore Orioles vs Oakland Athletics: 5 players to watch

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
5 of 6
Baltimore Orioles
OAKLAND, CA – APRIL 18: Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics fields the ball at third base against the Chicago White Sox at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on April 18, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Matt Chapman, 3B

If you don’t know about Matt Chapman already, you will soon. Less than a year removed from a solid run in Triple-A, the SoCal native has already blossomed into one of the best third basemen in the American League.

With a .237/.319/.474 line through his first 457 plate appearances, Chapman’s skills at the plate belie his young age. His 12 extra-base hits, including three triples and six home runs, have been a big part of Oakland’s success this season.

But just like many star third basemen throughout history, Chapman really shines when he’s in the field. In just 115 MLB games, he has already put together a deep portfolio of exceptional work at the hot corner. Take a look at this insane play from the other night:

Beyond being thrilling to watch, Chapman’s strong fielding comes across in the advanced stats — in fact, per Baseball Reference, he’s compiled more defensive value than offensive value. Add it up, and he already has 4.9 Wins Above Replacement for his career, good for a 6.9-win pace over 162 games.

But don’t let the numbers distract you from Chapman’s pure athleticism. Even if his spectacular defense robs the Orioles of a few hits, Birds fans are in for a treat this weekend.