TORONTO — The last A’s rookie to homer in three consecutive games before Matt Chapman was ... Josh Donaldson, who had many nice words about Chapman on Tuesday after the rookie third baseman’s big night in the series opener.
“That was a nice night,” Oakland’s former third baseman told The Chronicle. “He made some great plays — that double play to make the stop and to still be able to get off the throw, and then that leaping catch at shortstop, those were tough. His athleticism was definitely on display.”
Donaldson has kept tabs on Chapman because he remembers meeting him after Chapman signed as an A’s first-round draft pick in 2014. “I remember talking to him and his parent, and I remember (A’s executives) Billy Beane and David Forst saying he could throw 98-100 mph off the mound, so you knew he’d have the arm strength,” Donaldson said. “I remember we took some grounders together and we chatted a while. I gave him a little advice.
“In some ways, it was like passing the torch. It’s funny how it all plays out.”
Chapman, 24, remembers his talk with Donaldson well. “It was a cool experience,” he said. “He told me a lot about his experiences in the minor leagues and gave me some things he thought I could use to help me, some general things: dos and don’ts, things to look out for.
“When he came by third, he told me, ‘Congratulations on making it up.’ It was pretty neat.”
Chapman has watched Donaldson closely over the years, in part because they were in the same organization and in part because they have a lot of similarities, including similar builds. “I feel like I can take away a lot from watching him,” Chapman said.