Red Sox Prospects: Chatting with shortstop C.J Chatham
By Hunter Noll
The Boston Red Sox MiLB system is full of a lot of talents prospects. Perhaps none have the consistent bat potential of C.J. Chatham. We had a little chat.
Okay first off, did you see what I did there? Chatting with C.J. CHATham? That’s A-Grade comedy right there and I bet no one’s ever thought of that hilarious pun before. Definitely not.
Anyways, C.J. Chatham is one of the best prospects in the Boston Red Sox system and one of the most underrated in the league. The shortstop is an extremely consistent hitter (.298 in his career) and has had his best two years in 2018 and 2019.
I had a quick chat with him just to help fans get a little more acquainted with someone who could play a big role in the future of the Red Sox. For your reading pleasure, I’ll skip the small talk and just get to the questions.
Fast forward a little bit, you’re making your Fenway debut, what are you using as your walkup song?
"“Love Scars x Lil Uzi *laughs* it’s a Soundcloud one.”"
(Not going to lie, not an Uzi fan but I listened to it and it’s pretty solid. Personally, my walkup song would be Hip Hop x Joell Ortiz, Many Men x 50 Cent, Skool Daze x Wale or G Code x Geto Boys).
Who were your baseball heroes growing up?
Did you imitate his game?
"“Not really, he didn’t really do anything too flashy. More of just he did everything right and was a leader.”"
(For me it was Nomar Garciaparra. I rocked the number and did the whole batting routine. Then I’d strikeout).
Favorite baseball moment so far?
"“(Juan) Centeno’s walk-off grand slam in extras this year. That was really cool to be a part of, and it was right before he got called up (to the Majors). Other than that, for me personally, probably just a few games at FAU.”"
What’s it like being a shortstop prospect on a team with Xander Bogaerts? You played a little second base this year. Do you think you could step into that role if needed?
"“Don’t look at that much. Whatever happens, happens. Can’t control anything like that. I’ll play anywhere honestly. This is more than I ever wanted. I’m working on second in the Fall League. Hoping to get that down, master it more.”"
(He’s definitely looked strong at second base. Something the Red Sox should monitor as they’ll need an answer there starting next year).
Injuries in 2016 and 2017 forced you to fall down the prospect list. Do you feel you’ve had to reprove and reestablish yourself over the last two years? Do you think you have reestablished yourself?
"“Definitely feel like I did have to prove myself and I have. I’ve been working on power and stuff and stuff like that. I had more extra-base hits this year than ever before. So I’m making progress, getting better in a lot of areas of my game.”"
(Chatham hit a career-high 31 doubles this year and tied a high with five homers).
You hit .337 with runners in scoring position this season. Do you change your approach at all?
"“Not really. It’s just focus. I like playing in front of people, you know. I like the height of the situation.”"
Scouting Chatham and what his future holds
Chatham had his best year in the minors in 2019. He hit .298 between Double-A and Triple-A with 31 doubles, one triple, and five home runs. The 24-year-old drove in 46 runs and scored 50 more, stealing seven bases in eight attempts.
He puts the bat on the ball and keeps strikeouts to a minimum. Meanwhile, the glove is real and should actually play very nicely at second base. Personally, I would love to see him get a serious look there in the Majors next season.
The Red Sox would be smart to give him a chance. I’ve said it on my Prospect Watches too many times to count, he’s a .300 hitter in the Majors. He’s ready for the opportunity – give it to him.