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Dodgers: That Time Los Angeles Passed on Matt Chapman in the Draft

A reminder that drafting isn’t as easy as it seems on paper.



Sometimes, a team gets to look back at a particular draft class and smile. Take the 2015 MLB draft class, for example. The Dodgers could have opted to avoid Walker Buehler, given his injury history, and gone for a safer bet in Jon Harris out of Mississippi State. 

Luckily, the Dodgers did not do that and took a gamble on Buehler bouncing back. Even they could not have anticipated how quickly and efficiently Buehler did recover to become on the of the most highly touted arms in baseball. Harris, meanwhile, ha still yet to see a game about Triple-A. 

There are the guys that scouts cry over at night when they think about their team passing on them. Prospects don’t always pan out, so this happens quite a but. But recently, I started thinking about the stars in the game today, and I had a very sad thought. The Dodgers have the opportunity to drat Matt Chapman in 2014.

Chapman as still an option when the Dodgers’ number came up in the draft that year, at pick number 22 that year. Instead, they opted for Grant Holmes out of Conway High School in South Carolina. They took a risk, and it didn’t really pay off the way they had hoped. Holmes was later traded to Oakland, ironically, in a deal that brought Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to Los Angeles. But out of high school, he showed triple-digit potential, and they just could not pass. 

Chapman would end up being selected by the Athletics just three picks later. He had gone relatively unnoticed in high school, despite absolutely demolishing opposing pitchers. But it was at Cal State Fullerton that Chapman started to get the attention of scouts, leading to his first-round selection.

Since then, all Chapman has done is hit bombs and put in a highlight reel on defense. He has won two Gold Gloves in his first two full seasons at the big league level and took home a Platinum Glove Award both years. He’s slashed .263/.348/.507 and averaged 30 homeruns over the last two years, and Nolan Arenado has said he thinks Chapman is a better player. High praise from a very talented player indeed.

All of that to say, the Dodgers missed on Matt Chapman. But they did go into the 2014 season with several highly rated infielders closing in on big-league debuts. That includes players like Corey Seager and Alex Guerrero, who were in the top ten preseason prospect rankings.  That was also the same year that we got introduced to Justin Turner, so maybe the Dodgers saw a future with him early.

Who knows what the reasoning was. At least we got Rich Hill out of the deal! 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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