OAKLAND -- Matt Chapman, the A’s first-round pick in this year’s MLB draft, donned a green jersey, white pants and the customary white cleats and took grounders and batting practice at the Coliseum today before the A’s series opener against the Texas Rangers.
"I wore white cleats in high school," said Chapman, a Trabuco Canyon native who went to El Toro High in Lake Forest. "So it’s pretty normal, I guess."
The A’s announced today they’ve agreed to terms with Chapman, a third baseman out of Cal State Fullerton, and with their sixth-round pick shortstop Trace Loeher. The A’s have now signed or agreed to terms with 20 of their 40 picks in this year’s draft.
Chapman said Tuesday he’ll report to the A’s extended spring training facility in Arizona and work out there before eventually starting at Class-A Beloit. He said of arriving at the Coliseum and meeting manager Bob Melvin and a handful of A’s players Tuesday: "It still doesn’t even seem real."
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"My dream was always to play professional baseball," Chapman said. "And having not been drafted out of high school and stuff, today my dream’s coming true."
Chapman hit with the A’s final group in batting practice and took grounders at third base, where he figures to start out in the minors. Chapman said he told the A’s he’s open to playing around the infield, but the plan as of draft day was to keep him at third. The A’s do not intend to put Chapman on the mound, despite his being clocked in the mid-to-high 90s pitching for collegiate Team USA.
Prior to the workout, Chapman said he’d met a handful of players, including fellow third baseman Josh Donaldson. "He was nice enough to go out of his way to say hi," Chapman said. "So that was pretty cool."
Chapman said he’s fine with not pitching in the pros, as he prefers to play every day. He said he got "a taste" of the daily grind playing summer ball in the Northwoods League after his freshman year at Cal State Fullerton.
"You can’t live or die on every single at-bat, you’ve got to kind of take it as a process," he said. "It’s a game of failures, so the better I can handle that, the better off I’ll be."
On hand for Monday’s brief workout were Chapman’s parents, Jim and Lisa, along with his sister, Haley. Also present was agent Scott Boras, who is representing Chapman and offered this scouting report of his client:
"He’s got a big, big arm,” Boras said. “It’ll be one of the best throwing arms in the major leagues. His glove is Gold Glove-caliber, he’s an extraordinary defensive player. Those are tools that are already defined at a young age."
He’s joining an organization with a pretty good defensive third baseman at the big-league level in Donaldson. Chapman, who on draft day said he thought he was the best defensive collegiate third baseman in 2014, said Monday he hadn’t had a chance to talk shop with Donaldson.
"But I have been able to watch him on TV," Chapman said. "I watch a lot of baseball highlights. And he seems to be all over it all the time."