Regression Risk: Despite The Power Potential, Don’t Go Buying Matt Chapman

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Talk about bursting onto the scene!  Little was expected from the A’s Matt Chapman upon his promotion to the Majors, and initially he really struggled hitting .132 with 0 HR over 38 AB in the first half. He erupted in the second half, though, putting his name on fantasy maps:

.250 (63-252), 14 HR, 37 RBI, 37 R, 0 SB, .292 BABIP, .327 OBP, .516 SLG

Obviously the number that jumps out at you is the power, and that’s something he’s shown over the past two seasons:

  • 2016 – 36 HR (29 at Double-A, 7 at Triple-A)
  • 2017 – 30 HR (16 at Triple-A, 14 in Majors)

He clearly takes a fly ball approach, though, with a 50.5% flyball rate in the Majors last season.  That came after a 50.4% mark at Triple-A, as well as marks of 46.8% at Double-A and 60.4% at Triple-A the year before.  Those types of marks are going to limit a players ability to hit for a strong average, because if the ball doesn’t leave the ballpark it’s far more likely that it results in an out.

We can see that with his .290 BABIP in the Majors (.293 at Triple-A), but would it be surprising to see that number drop further?  It’s not like he’s a line drive machine (16.0%) or has speed, so it’s a fair conclusion to reach.

Then you have the strikeouts, as Chapman struggled both at Triple-A (30.9%) and the Majors (28.2%) last season.  His 11.5% SwStr% in the Majors does support the mark, and he struggled to make consistent contact against all types of pitches (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 11.08%
  • Breaking – 14.47%
  • Offspeed – 20.00%

It’s easy to imagine the number of fastballs he sees dropping (59.97%), and that could lead to a further jump in the strikeout rate.

A drop in his BABIP plus an increase in strikeouts?  That would obviously lead to an ugly batting average, and while the power is for real that simply isn’t enough at this point.  Power is prevalent around the game, and you can find it without the risk of carrying a .220 average.  While he’s a better fit in OBP formats (26.6% O-Swing%, 9.8% walk rate), that doesn’t mean he’s a player to target.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections:

Player
Date Published
Cano, Robinson10/09/17
Castillo, Luis10/03/17
Gerrit Cole10/30/17
Didi Gregorius11/20/17
Wil Myers10/24/17
Quintana, Jose11/13/17
Sanchez, Aaron12/05/17
Schoop, Jonathan11/27/17
Stroman, Marcus10/16/17
Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17

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