Matt Chapman is off to one of the best starts in Blue Jays history

Apr 10 2023, 3:29 pm

The Toronto Blue Jays have never had the production out of a player to start their season quite like the way Matt Chapman is batting right now.

No, seriously.

Chapman leads the MLB in batting average (.475) and hits (19), and is tied for the lead in runs batted in (14) through his first 10 games. He’s reached base safely at least once in all 10 games, and has six multi-hit games, including four games already of three hits.

Nobody’s handing out MVPs over the first week and a half of a season, but it’s hard to find a player in baseball looking better than he is right now.

And it’s pretty easy to make the case that he’s off to one of — if not the very best — starts in franchise history.

When it comes to Blue Jays team history, Chapman ranks in the top 10 in nearly every major batting category over a player’s first 10 games of the season.

Chapman 2023 stats Rank in Jays history

(1st 10 games)

Batting Average .475 3rd
Hits 19 T1
On-base percentage .523 8th
Slugging .800 6th
OPS 1.323 4th
Runs batted in 14 T-2nd
Doubles 7 2nd

If there’s one blemish — and it’s hardly one — on Chapman’s resume to date this season, he’s hit the ball over the fence just twice so far, which places him in an 84-player tie for 33rd most home runs this season.

But with the way Chapman has been batting so far, “he’s not hitting enough homers” seems like a silly complaint, does it not?

On Sunday, Chapman hit his second long bomb of the season, a grand slam that kickstarted Toronto’s comeback from 6-0 down to eventually top the Angels by way of a 12-11 win.

John Olerud set the Blue Jays’ franchise mark for the highest batting average in a season back in the World Series-winning team in 1993, when he hit .363 on the season. Meanwhile, Carlos Delgado slugged .664 back in 2000 to set a franchise mark, where he also set the team’s record OPS at 1.134. Currently, Chapman is topping all those marks. He hasn’t topped a .278 batting average in six MLB seasons to date, but is looking to take his offensive game to the next level.

“I have big goals this season. I really felt like I had a higher ceiling than what I’d been showing. I’ve shown it in spurts throughout the courses of different years and I’ve had good seasons before. But I’ve used all that I’ve learned and I felt like I tried to just put the best version of myself out there,” Chapman said yesterday, per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.

“Getting early success helps, it lets you know that you’re doing the right thing. Obviously, I’m not going to hit .400 the rest of the season – who knows, maybe I’ll break a record – but the biggest thing I can take is what I worked on this off-season translates.”

Of course, it’s still very early days, and there are still 152 games left to see how Chapman’s production holds up over the course of the season, including up to 81 games in a new-look Rogers Centre.

Despite Chapman’s offensive heroics, the Blue Jays are just 6-4 to start the season, sitting in third place in a perennially tough AL East.

But at least for right now, Chapman is tearing the cover off the baseball, and it’s hard to nitpick at what’s been an incredible start to the year.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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