The Boston Red Sox added power and personality in the form of infielder Michael Chavis.
Chavis, a product of Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Ga., was drafted 26th overall by the Red Sox on Thursday. The 18-year-old admitted he was nervous before getting drafted, but his anxiety soon was replaced by jubilation when his agent called to inform him that the Red Sox were selecting him with their first pick in this year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft.
“Watching it go by — whether it was the first pick or anything where I didn’t even expect myself to go — I was nervous from when I woke up this morning,” Chavis told reporters Thursday. “This is a lifelong dream of mine, and I couldn’t believe I was going to be here for this.”
Red Sox director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye said Chavis likely will begin his career at shortstop, though it’s possible he could play third base and/or second base in time. Regardless, it’s Chavis’ bat and character that have turned heads to this point in his young baseball career.
“You can just see his passion for the game, just even his workouts, the way he works, interacts with his teammates, his love for baseball,” Sawdaye said. “He is a personable kid. I’ll tell you, one of the last things we saw, we met with him about two-three weeks ago, and one of our scouts said, ‘Why are you always smiling?’ He said, ‘You know what? Because I’m always happy.’ That’s kind of the way he plays. He plays with a smile on his face. He’s a guy that has an infectious personality and hopefully it permeates in the clubhouse. A guy that I think fans in Boston will hopefully get to know and love up here in the big leagues.”
Chavis is listed at 5-foot-10, but his small frame hasn’t prevented him from producing plenty of long balls. He hit .580 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs while stealing 21 bases in his senior year, and he said Thursday that power always has been a huge part of his game despite being what some might call “undersized.”
“I think he kind of just got into this mode where when the scouts were in, he wanted to show his power and also probably wanted to hit some cars (at his high school field),” Sawdaye said. “It will be a pretty decent swing for what we like here over the Monster, because I think he’ll probably put some balls on Lansdowne Street and make all the people sitting in the Monster Seats happy in BP, I can tell you that much.”
The Red Sox, of course, have a pretty good “undersized” infielder in Dustin Pedroia. Chavis understands he has a long way to go before playing alongside Pedroia, but the energetic shortstop already models part of his game after the gritty All-Star.
“I love watching Pedroia play. He’s a great player,” Chavis said. “How he plays and goes about the game is incredible. That’s what I think some people are missing nowadays in baseball is that they kind of play lackadaisical, and they’re kind of relaxed. I like how he plays 100 percent and plays as hard as he can every single play of the game.”
Chavis, who was ranked No. 21 among all eligible draft prospects by MLB.com, is no stranger to the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. His grandmother and grandfather are big Yankees fans, and his uncles and cousins are diehard Red Sox fans. Chavis has never been to Fenway Park, though, and calling the historic ballpark home represents an intriguing possibility for the infielder.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Chavis said. “I couldn’t be more excited. With them winning the World Series last year, obviously they have a great program and a great organization and farm system. I can’t wait to become a part of it.”
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