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OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 10: Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics bats against the Kansas City Royals in the bottom of the second inning at RingCentral Coliseum on June 10, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Hello Again, Mr. Chapman

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

After a sluggish start to the season, Matt Chapman’s bat is starting to wake up–which is great news for the Oakland offense and bad news for everyone else

Through the first 56 games of the 2021 regular season, Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman looked like a complete stranger.

The 2019 All-Star that hit nearly .260 over the last three seasons came into June 2nd’s contest in Seattle with a lackluster .198 batting average on the season to go along with a .308 on base percentage and a .332 slugging percentage.

Chapman’s power–alongside his ability to make contact–has not been present to begin the season, as the 28-year-old’s five home runs, six doubles and 21 RBI over his first 224 plate appearances do not fall in line with the numbers that A’s fans have become accustomed to over the past four seasons.

While the power and contact numbers are low, one unwanted statistical number is high to begin the season: strikeouts. Chapman enters play on June 14th as Major League Baseball’s leader in strikeouts with 83 punch-outs.

It isn’t all bad for Matt Chapman, though–at least, not anymore.

After entering play on June 2nd with a .198 batting average, Chapman has woken up his bat in a big way.

Over his last 10 games, Chapman is batting .343 with two home runs, two doubles, eight RBI and a .600 slugging percentage during a stretch of games that resulted in eight wins against two losses by an Athletics team that holds a two-game lead over the second-place Houston Astros.

Chapman has upped his batting average up from .198 to .221 over the last two weeks, a hopeful sign of positive progression for the two-time Platinum Glove Award winner.

Of course, a .221 batting average paired with a .374 slugging percentage and .695 on base plus slugging percentage through 66 games leaves much to be desired, but the wheels have started turning for Chapman.

It’s a long, long season.

With just under 100 games remaining in the season, Matt Chapman has plenty of time to turn himself back into the All-Star type of talent that the A’s have relied on for the past three-plus seasons. Even with Chapman struggling, Matt Olson and company have paced the offense to seventh in the league in home runs, third in doubles and 10th in triples.

If the Athletics can staff a fully-functional Chapman in the lineup, it makes the first-place A’s that much more of a threat in the American League as the crucial summer stretch of the season approaches.