Michael Chavis is getting closer to making his Major League Baseball debut.
The question, of course, is when can Boston Red Sox fans expect to see the talented infielder at Fenway Park?
Chavis, considered by many outlets to be Boston’s top positional prospect, went 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles Friday night in his debut for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. The 23-year-old played third base and hit sixth for the PawSox after splitting time at third and first base in his previous 38 games (five at Single-A Lowell and 33 at Double-A Portland).
The Georgia native nearly connected on a solo homer in his first at-bat.
Chavis later struck out looking.
He connected on an opposite-field homer in his next at-bat, though.
The fact that Chavis showed power to right field is a great sign, as his reputation for occasionally being pull-happy is one of the biggest obstacles he faces in receiving a promotion to the big leagues. His defense at the hot corner also will be a major point of emphasis going forward.
“The biggest thing he needs to work on is defensive consistency, especially if he wants to stick at third base,” Ian Cundall, direct of scouting at SoxProspects.com, told NESN.com on Saturday. “Offensively he needs to continue to refine his approach. He still will get over-aggressive at times and pull-happy — two things pitchers will look to exploit at the major league level.”
Chavis has had an up-and-down career since the Red Sox drafted him in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He struggled to make consistent contact during his first two seasons in Boston’s system, but enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, hitting .282 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs in 126 games between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. His significant improvement led to an increase in prospect ranking and hype entering the 2018 season.
But Chavis’ stock plummeted in April after he received an 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, and many wondered whether he’d be the same player upon returning. You could argue, however, that Chavis somehow emerged an even better player: He’s hitting .317 with eight homers with 22 RBIs and a .986 OPS in 39 games this year.
A September call-up still might not be in the cards, though.
The MLB-leading Red Sox, who currently aren’t in a position that necessitates extended prospect cameos, feature reliable platoons at both of Chavis’ positions: Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers stand in his way at third base, and Steve Pearce and All-Star Mitch Moreland have first base locked down.
Furthermore, Chavis faces competition at first from PawSox teammate Josh Ockimey, who isn’t considered as talented as Chavis, but nevertheless has hit .247 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs in 107 games this season. Cundall, for one, sees Chavis staying at first, but doesn’t anticipate Chavis nor Ockimey getting the call to Boston anytime soon.
“With Devers locked in at third base, I guess (Chavis stays at) first, but neither are ready for a call up at this point,” he said. “Longterm, Chavis has more upside at first base than Ockimey does if everything clicks.”
Ultimately, Red Sox fans likely will have to wait a little longer before seeing Chavis in a Boston uniform. And that’s probably a good thing, as it means the Red Sox’s talent on the big league roster allows them to give prospects more time to develop.
Still, Chavis’ raw power and overall improvement are undeniable. And his roller-coaster ride to the majors finally might be nearing its conclusion.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images