New A’s coach excited to work with top prospect Matt Chapman at spring training

OAKLAND — One of the most intriguing Oakland Athletics not in Jack London Square on Saturday for the club’s annual FanFest was Matt Chapman, the organization’s most-powerful prospect.

The 23-year-old, who led big league camp last spring with six homers, will be a non-roster invitee when the A’s assemble in Mesa, Az., next month.

Chip Hale, who’s back as the team’s third-base coach and infielder’s instructor is looking forward to working with the player ranked No.4 in’s prospect rankings of the A’s farm setup.

“I’m excited. I mean, I was here when he was drafted,” Hale said of the 2014 top selection.

Chapman is most known for his majestic home runs — he slugged 36 in 135 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season — but he also impresses with the glove.

“He’s athletic. He’s talented,” Hale said of Chapman’s defense.

The six-foot Chapman made 118 starts at third base in 2016, but also played 10 games at shortstop — including eight starts.

Chapman’s versatility in the field reminded Hale of his own rise through the Minnesota Twins system. Hale spent the vast majority of his minor league time at second base only to make his Twins debut at third.

“What happens is, at the big league level a lot of times, we’re not afraid, if a guy’s offensive, for example, let’s put him at short for six innings?” Hale explained. “You know what I mean? He’s athletic enough. He can do it.”

Hale confirmed that Chapman’s ability to shift around the infield should hasten his arrival to Oakland.

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