Matt Chapman’s unhealthy begin with Giants proves Blue Jays made the proper alternative shifting on

This past offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays were often scrutinized for various plays they actually made or didn't make. One of those moves was the failure to re-sign star third baseman and fan favorite Matt Chapman. When he finally signed a three-year contract worth just $54 million with the San Francisco Giants, the fan base became even angrier because the Jays couldn't match such an offer. Ultimately, Chapman was the best third baseman available in free agency and the perfect example of a player who could provide elite offense and defense at the same time for any team.

But after seeing Chapman's rocky start to his tenure with the Giants so far, it turns out the Jays finally got it right. In 37 games this season, he has posted a paltry .204 batting average along with a .595 OPS, 18 runs scored, 4 home runs, and 14 RBI. Additionally, his 4.6:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is his best since 2020. So it appears that his offensive regression that we saw with the Jays in 2023 was actually a taste of what was to come for Chapman would come.

To add insult to injury, his Gold Glove-caliber defense this year with the Giants was anything but elite. In fact, he was difficult to watch at times as this type of erratic fielding became more and more the norm for him.


April 24th @Mets at @SFGiants

T4 Harrison Bader reaches third base on an infield single off Matt Chapman and advances to second base on a throwing error by Chapman. It was originally a two-base throwing error

Change 2 for SF#LGM #SFGiants

— MLB Scoring Changes (@ScoringChanges) April 30, 2024

As of Tuesday night, Chapman had already committed 6 errors in just 102 chances, for a fielding percentage of .941, easily making it his worst defensive season of his MLB career.

As much as the Jays have struggled so far in 2024, at least the so-called Chapman replacements on the team have performed solidly for Toronto so far. Overall, the Blue Jays' starting third baseman had a .244 batting average with an OPS of .690, along with 15 runs scored, 3 home runs, 14 RBI, 3 stolen bases and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.5 :1. Defensively, they committed just four errors and had a respectable fielding percentage of .960.

Looking closer at the players, Ernie Clement and Isiah Kiner-Falefa have received the most starts at the hot corner. Statistically, Clement posted a solid .271 average with a .760 OPS with 10 runs scored, two home runs and 6 RBI in 28 games, while Kiner-Falefa also held his own with a .260 average and 9 runs scored one Home run and 10 RBI in 35 games played. When we also factor in Justin Turner, who played a few stints at third and was more or less Chapman's replacement on offense, it's clear to see that the Jays made the right choice. Turner currently leads the team in batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.357), OPS (.821), doubles (8), RBI (16) and is second in hits (31), runs scored (16). ). Home runs (4) and slugging percentage (.472). Without Turner, who knows where the Jays would be right now.

As disappointing as the 2024 season has been for the Jays with all of the recent negative backlash, they can rest assured that they did at least one thing right, and that's not re-signing Chapman to a multi-year deal. It's hard to imagine, but if that were the case, it could have been even worse. Going forward, let's just hope that the Jays can make a few smart moves now and somehow salvage the season before it starts to spiral out of control.

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