Boston Red Sox infielder Michael Chavis may be the odd man out.
Boston Red Sox infielder Michael Chavis burst on the baseball scene in 2019 with a flair for dramatic tape measure home runs. Chavis, a right-handed hitter, ranked second in major league baseball with an average home run distance of 419’ – tied with Mike Trout, but that is where any similarities scratch to a grinding halt.
Chavis is reminiscent of the Wily Mo Pena school of “all or nothing” hitting. Pena came to Boston with the hopes via management that somehow he would refine his swing and present a more consistent approach. Pena failed. Will Chavis avoid the same fate?
In 2019, Chavis did the walk of shame back to the dugout 127 times after futile attempts and somehow connecting with that evasive white sphere. The rate was 33.2 K% that is certainly in Pena territory with his career 30.3 K%. This is nothing new since Chavis’ swing and miss history has been present since he became a first-round draft pick in 2014. But Chavis does have some attributes that may make him a safe spot on the Red Sox roster for 2020 and beyond.
Chavis is a good glove – not a great glove – but one capable of making the expected plays and a few of the unexpected at multiple positions. He was no embarrassment in the field and that certainly offers some possibilities to manager Ron Roenicke for platooning Chavis with Mitch Moreland and even occasionally Rafael Devers.
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The pathway to returning to second base for Chavis may be impeded by Jose Peraza who may be a possible free agent signing success. Peraza had a miserable 2019 in Cincinnati and was deemed expendable. The Red Sox pounced and the word around the summer training campfire is Peraza is now the favorite for second base.
Baseball is stuffed full of iconic sayings and “Things have a way of working themselves out” may be apropos to the Chavis situation. Chavis will get his playing time and more time means less rust. He was an example of that when his season ended in mid-August due to injury. Injuries, trades, and disappointments can open a closed door.
Chavis has another noted item on his baseball ledger – service time. That translates to being cheap merchandise for the next few years. Knowing the way the Red Sox now view contracts for young players, a Devers is certainly susceptible to the same treatment as a Mookie Betts. If Chavis does well, the Red Sox could be tempted to dispose of another potential franchise player without much hesitation.
The circumstances of COVID-19 have demolished the minor league baseball season and that means possible playing time for Chavis. If the roster possibilities become limited, Chavis’ option of getting playing time in Pawtucket is now gone. Also gone is the possibility of Chavis experimenting with some game time in the outfield. Jackie Bradley Jr. will in all probability depart and Kevin Pillar is around to build-up value.
At this point in time, Chavis appears to be the odd man out at not one, but several positions unless he suddenly does something he has never accomplished in professional baseball – reduce whiffs and raise his batting average. Neither appears likely.