Matt Chapman has seen a lot of winning in Oakland, and he expects to see more in 2021, starting on opening day.
The Oakland A’s third baseman isn’t shy about what he’s seen this spring, and he told MLB.com’s Marin Gallegos he thinks this is the best Athletics squad he’s seen since he arrived as a first-round pick in 2017.
The 100-win plateau is a benchmark for a great regular-season team, and Chapman has come close to the promised land, but he hasn’t quite gotten there. The A’s won 97 games in 2018 and 2019, finishing second in the American League West each time.
But he returns healthy after an injury last year, and fellow Matt, first baseman Matt Olson, has had an incredible spring, swatting home runs at a pace that’s torrid even for him. Outfielder Ramon Laureano returns, as do a host of pitchers from Oakland’s elite staff from a season ago.
Chapman should know if this year’s A’s are ready to take that next step. The team’s performance has outpaced it’s payroll, as usual, and this does seem like the year Olson and Chapman can use what they’ve learned the last few seasons to bolster the squad’s chances.
Manager Bob Melvin will lead his young crew starting against the Astros at 7:07 p.m. on April 1, opening day. There will be (limited) fans in the Oakland-Coliseum stands (what’s new), and it’s the first of 162. Play ball!
(Photo credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)