Chapman ready for sophomore spotlight at 3B

February 1st, 2018

The Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the season, continues at third base.

Who's on third?

The A's have a pair of cornerstone pieces cemented at the corners: , the defensive whiz at third base, is expected to be a fixture of a winning Oakland team for years to come, and first baseman .

Chapman, who came to the A's in the first round of the 2014 Draft, was called upon in the middle of June last year and hit a game-winning single against the Yankees for his first big league hit. A fierce competitor who welcomes the spotlight, Chapman represents the kind of homegrown star power the A's haven't seen in quite some time.

"There's a lot of emotion, certainly a lot of athleticism and an excitable guy," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We look for these guys to be leaders along the way."

Offensive outlook

Chapman hit just .234 while adapting to big league pitching, but nearly 60 percent of his hits went for extra bases, and he bopped 14 homers in just 84 games. That translates to 27 over a full season.

Chapman, who will celebrate his 25th birthday in April, will look to cut down on the strikeouts in his sophomore season, having whiffed in 28 percent of his plate appearances last year. At the same time, he hopes his walk total will continue to increase, as it did in the second half of his rookie campaign.

Getting defensive

Chapman undoubtedly has Gold Glove potential. He's already considered one of the top defenders with one of the best arms in the game, routinely drawing comparisons to Colorado's , who just so happens to be his former high school teammate. Chapman trailed only Arenado in Defensive Runs Saved last year and is a big reason why Oakland's collective defensive showing dramatically improved.

Depth chart

The A's anticipate Chapman manning third for a long time, which is why they're already entertained the possibility of signing him -- and a few of their other young studs -- to an extension. Should Chapman succumb to injury this year, the A's could move a few pieces around and have shift to third base. Ultra-utility man , equipped with a strong arm, is also likely capable of the task.