Latest 2024 projection may point the Chicago Cubs to this free agent

Despite struggling offensively for all but one month of the 2023 Major League Baseball season, third baseman Matt Chapman is projected to have a respectable 2024 season.

Sep 26, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman (26) takes batting
Sep 26, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman (26) takes batting / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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One of the most polarizing targets for the Chicago Cubs this off-season has been third baseman Matt Chapman.

At the start of the 2023 season, Chapman appeared to be a clear target for the Cubs considering he is in the same tier as Nolan Arenado in terms of being an elite fielder at the third base position. The issue is that Chapman's offense dove off a cliff after the opening month of the 2023 season and that has led to many fans wanting the Cubs to avoid the veteran third baseman by any means necessary.

The discourse around Chapman has actually reached the point where he now be undervalued, depending on the contract he signs. Chapman's batted ball numbers from 2023 would suggest that he may have been the victim of bad luck last season.

Dan Szymborski is in the middle of releasing his ZiPS projections for the 2024 season and he recently revealed the projections for the Blue Jays. Before we dive completely into the numbers that are projected for Chapman, there is one line that should be a takeaway:

"If social media is any indication, Matt Chapman might be underrated at this point. He was terrible in the second half, but I haven’t found that to be very predictive, and overall, he still gave the Blue Jays about four wins that they now have to replace"

FanGraphs

Despite the offensive numbers for Chapman from May to the end of the season in 2023, he still graded out as an above-average player in terms of fWAR. That is the same case that can be made with Chapman's 2024 projections as they calculated a fWAR of 3.6 with a OPS+ of 119.

Chapman has a projected slash line of .240/.333/.453 with 25 home runs. In terms of OPS+, Chapman projects to be an above-average player while providing consistent power with a .214 ISO. Given that Chapman would also be providing Gold Glove defense at third base, if the Cubs' model is similar to what Szymborski uses, this could be a great deal for the team after all.

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