How was Matt Chapman, who has 12 home runs for the A's this season and is the favorite to win the American League Gold Glove at third base, a backup as a sophomore in high school? Champman only has a five-time Gold Glove winner to thank for being stuck on the bench.
In 2009, Nolan Arenado was a senior at El Toro High School, and one of the best prospects in the nation. At that time, the star third baseman was a shortstop and his backup was none other than Chapman himself. Chapman played shortstop when Arenado pitched.
On Friday, Arenado had high praise for his former backup.
Nolan Arenado is full of praise for former HS teammate Matt Chapman, says, "He's probably better than me now."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 27, 2018
That's more than just high praise. Arenado is a bonafide star. Along with his five Gold Gloves in his first five years in the majors, Arenado has also made four straight All-Star Games and won three straight Silver Slugger Awards.
Chapman was humbled and motivated by Arenado's words ahead of the A's three-game series against the Rockies in Colorado that starts on Friday night.
"I wanna do what he's done," Chapman said. "I haven't done one thing that he's done. He's got the Gold Gloves, he's got the Silver Sluggers so I'm definitely motivated to be as good as he is."
While Chapman was taken back by what his former teammate had to say, he clearly believes he has the talent to do what Arenado has done.
"It's nice for him to say that and I do feel I'm good enough to do some of those things. But you gotta prove it before you can say that you're better than someone," Chapman said.
Going into Friday night, Chapman is batting .266 with 12 home runs, a .825 OPS, 5.4 bWAR (ninth in baseball), and 23 Defensive Runs Saved (tops in MLB by six runs).