OAKLAND – First-round draft pick Matt Chapman was in uniform at the Coliseum on Monday, the same day the A’s announced that they came to terms with the third baseman from Cal State Fullerton.
Chapman will head to the team’s minor league facility Tuesday and train there for a short period before reporting to the A’s low Single-A squad in Beloit, Wis. But Monday, he was all smiles while taking his hacks alongside major leaguers.
“I wore white cleats in high school, so it’s pretty normal, I guess,” Chapman said. “It’s taking me back to high school. To be on the same field with these guys, I’m just gonna soak it all in and enjoy it.”
MLB.com’s Jim Callis reported that Chapman, the 25th overall selection, received a $1.75 million signing bonus, which would be below the recommended slot of $1.898 million that Major League Baseball assigned for the 25th pick. Teams sometimes work to sign players to under-slot money so as to be able to be more aggressive with their bonus pool money for some of their other later picks.
The A’s do not release signing bonus figures, but Chapman’s agent, Scott Boras, said negotiations with the A’s went smoothly and fairly. Boras represents two other recent first-round picks of Oakland, shortstop Addison Russell and utility man Grant Green, who is now with the Angels.
Boras, who was at the Coliseum on Monday, believes Chapman has the ability to move quickly through the farm system.
“He has a big, big arm,” Boras said. “He will have one of the best throwing arms in the major leagues. His glove is Gold Glove-caliber. He’s an extraordinary defensive player.” A’s officials also rave about Chapman’s arm. And though he touched the high 90’s on the radar gun while pitching part-time for Team USA, they have no plans to convert him to the mound a la Sean Doolittle.
Chapman is said to be a gap-to-gap hitter, but A’s area scout Eric Martins, who identified him for the A’s, believes Chapman will develop power too. The right-handed hitting Chapman stepped into the batting cage before Monday’s game against Texas and sent one ball sailing over the fence deep in left-center. His father, Jim, mother, Lisa, and sister, Haley, watched from close by. Chapman counted current A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson and Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia as players he’s admired. Martins said the way Chapman handles third base defensively reminds him some of Donaldson.
The A’s also signed sixth-round pick Trace Loeher, a shortstop out of Rex Putnam High School in Oregon. Loeher had the option of attending Oregon State.