OAKLAND -- While he's only been in the Majors for 25 games, A's rookie Matt Chapman has already made a name for himself as a rising defensive star at third base.Chapman added to his growing highlight reel in the third inning with a diving stop to start a double play
OAKLAND -- While he's only been in the Majors for 25 games, A's rookie Matt Chapman has already made a name for himself as a rising defensive star at third base.
Chapman added to his growing highlight reel in the third inning with a diving stop to start a double play in Friday night's 6-3 loss to the Twins at the Coliseum.
"There aren't too many guys who make that play and get one out let alone two," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's special defensively."
With a runner on first and no outs in the third inning, Twins slugger Miguel Sano roped a grounder down the third-base line at 110 mph, according to Statcast™, but Chapman dove to his right and snagged the ball, then spun in a single motion to start a 5-4-3 double play with a lightning-quick throw to second baseman Adam Rosales.
"Just anticipating the ball being hit to me, especially with Sano up," Chapman said. "I know he's got a quick bat and he was probably looking to do some damage there. I was just ready.
"Once I dove, I popped up quick enough, I knew that the speed of the ball kind of dictated where I was going to throw that. I was able to get up and get a good feed off. And then Rosy made a really nice turn, so it was a bang-bang on both ends."
The diving stop came just two days after Chapman made a sensational running catch Wednesday in Toronto, going from a shortstop's position in a shift to foul territory in left field to make a running catch on a popup.
"We'll talk about Chapman plays for quite a while," Melvin said. "I mean, until we get so used to it you'll quit asking me."
According to Fangraphs, Chapman entered Friday with nine Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) at third base, the fourth-highest of anyone who has played the position in 2017. That's despite playing just 211 1/3 innings at third before Friday night, more than 600 fewer innings than most everyday third basemen have played this season.
"Nowadays, with the metrics, you have a better measure on how many runs you save, which he's going to do a lot of," Melvin said.
And while he's only hitting .188 and went 1-for-4 at the plate Friday, Chapman tries to make sure he's helping the team in whatever way he can.
"You've got to be able to separate offense and defense, and that's something I learned how to do throughout the Minor Leagues and in college," Chapman said. "If you can't get it done at the plate sometimes, it always feels good to be able to contribute defensively. It's something that I definitely take pride in, being able to help the team and the pitchers out."
Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.