The Red Sox are 5-5 in Grapefruit league play so far this spring, so I guess you can say they’re mediocre. Because the one thing you look for in spring training is for your team to run the table and dominate the league like the Red Sox did last year, right?
Well, if you’re not a guy who fully buys in on spring training standings like I do, you’re probably paying attention to some of the top prospects who received their invites to major league camp this February.
One of these prospects happens to be ranked number one in the Red Sox farm system and his name is Michael Chavis.
Chavis is a third/first baseman who has been displaying some big-time power through the spring. It feels like every day we’re getting an update about another Chavis three-run blast.
Crazy that the Phillies would give Bryce Harper $330 million when baseball’s best hitter right now is clearly Michael Chavis. pic.twitter.com/U6jTHvSmRd
— Offspeed Podcast (@OffspeedPod) February 28, 2019
Chavis has appeared in nine games so far this spring and has been one of the top storylines. He’s been someone you’ve wanted to keep an eye on because of his previously identified power, and he’s made it pretty difficult to glance past him in the lineup thus far.
In his nine appearances, he’s had 19 at-bats where he’s gathered six hits. But within those six hits has come four home runs which have been scattered all over the field from right to left.
Showing a .316 batting average and 1.328 OPS, the 23-year-old right-handed hitter is making his presence felt while keeping up his reputation as a legit power threat.
In 2017, Chavis’ numbers popped and his average rose to .282 which was accompanied by 31 home runs. However, in April of 2018, he was popped with an 80-game suspension after testing positive for PEDs. Once he was able to finally return after missing a majority of the season, his numbers still impressed through a 46 game stint posting a .298 average with nine home runs.
In the grand scheme of things, spring training numbers essentially mean nothing, right? It’s a good time to see who has some sort of remote potential, but in February, it’s tough to gauge just how good a player really is or what he can be at the major league level.
2019 is an immensely important year for Michael Chavis. With the PED suspension shadowing his great showing through 2017, it’s time to see if this guy truly deserves the nod as the Red Sox number one prospect and an eventual call up with hopes that he can be an every day major leaguer, or if the PEDs–which he vehemently denies–truly played an extensive role in his major 2017 uptick in statistics and power numbers.
In his prior three seasons in the Red Sox farm system, his numbers were nothing short of mediocre, to below average. His batting average topped out at .237 in 2016 where he only hit eight home runs in 339 plate appearances. His lack of power and inability to hit for average ahead of 2017 definitely gives us skeptics the right to look and ponder whether or not Chavis can keep these incredibly productive seasons going, especially once he reaches the majors.
I’d like to see how Chavis does in Triple-A ball this season and I wonder–now that the PEDs are presumably out of his system–what his production at the plate, power wise looks like.
So will we be seeing the third baseman at Fenway Park this season?
The Red Sox are clogged at the major league level in the infield. The club has two well respected, veteran first basemen and a third baseman in Rafael Devers who the team clearly wants to see succeed, along with a veteran in Eduardo Nunez sitting behind him. The fact of the matter is that at the moment, there is no room for Michael Chavis. But if he makes his presence known in the minor leagues in 2019 like he has in spring training so far, he’ll be tough to ignore.
Barring injury, it’ll be difficult to find the infielder playing time. But again, if he produces in impressive fashion for the first few months of the season and your young third baseman struggles to find his footing like we saw last year, is it possible that we see Chavis in Boston ahead of the all-star break? It should be a good motivating factor for some of the infield to be on their best game if this prospect starts making some real noise once the games begin to count.
Another possible, and more realistic timetable to consider for Chavis’ call up to the bigs with serious intent to keep him at that level would be the 2020 season. At that point, the Red Sox will be in need of a first baseman with the departure of Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce whose contracts both would have expired. Could we see Devers being moved to the other corner of the diamond, therefore, making room for Chavis at third?
That is a very real scenario to consider. The bottom line is that the young infielder has shown immense potential over the prior two seasons in the minor league system and with an impressive spring, we’re beginning to see his true development into a major league ballplayer.
Could this development halt once he does make it to the big stage? Of course, there’s a very real chance of that happening. Again, who knows how much the PEDs affected his rapid growth in the farm system. But we’ll have to wait and see what kind of numbers he produces this season. Don’t be surprised to see him up at some point during the season, but if he doesn’t get the call ahead of the September call-ups, I would be shocked if he doesn’t land on the big league roster come 2020.