TORONTO -- Matt Chapman is quickly becoming must-see TV.The rookie has added entertainment value to a rough A's season, sparking life into a last-place, rebuilding club that's eyeing the future.Chapman, who is very much a part of that picture, starred again in Monday's 4-2 series-opening loss in Toronto, counting off
TORONTO -- Matt Chapman is quickly becoming must-see TV.
The rookie has added entertainment value to a rough A's season, sparking life into a last-place, rebuilding club that's eyeing the future.
Chapman, who is very much a part of that picture, starred again in Monday's 4-2 series-opening loss in Toronto, counting off his third homer in as many days -- one of just two A's hits recorded -- and turning in several defensive highlights at the hot corner.
"Captain America," starter Chris Smith said. "Well-rounded, good-looking. He can do everything."
A shifted Chapman robbed Justin Smoak of a hit with a dazzling leaping catch in the hole to end the fifth -- "There aren't many guys who are going to make that play in the big leagues right now," A's manager Bob Melvin said -- and then stunned again when he shot down a rocket off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki to start an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the seventh.
"That was definitely a tough play," said Chapman, who is ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the A's No. 3 prospect. "I was excited when I saw that we were going to turn that double play and get out of the inning. I wasn't sure if I was going to get it once I slid for it, and then once I slid for it and got the throw off, I was pretty excited.
"It all happens so fast, and you don't really have too much time to think on those plays. You just react, but it was definitely a good feeling."
Said Melvin: "Off the bat, it's a hit and two runs, and not only does he get the ball but he turns it into a double play. He can cut some runs down defensively."
Melvin has kept Chapman in the lineup on an everyday basis since his June 15 promotion, allowing the 24-year-old to play through expected struggles in the early going.
Chapman has hit all five of his home runs since returning from the All-Star break, after beginning his career 4-for-26 over his first seven games.
"Obviously I started off a little slow, came back after the break and I've been feeling pretty strong ever since," Chapman said. "Just feel like I'm in control of the at-bats, and obviously you can't control the results every time, but I feel like I've been putting myself in the best position to have success."
Chapman has a history of doing so at each level.
"He struggled a little bit early on like he has at every classification," Melvin said, "and then he comes through it and starts doing things like he is right now."
"As much as we like seeing it, I know he's loving that, because that's something he gets to do every day and now it's on a bigger scale and people on TV get to watch it," Smith said. "That's rewarding him, too."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.