There have been many spring training MVPs who ultimately disappointed for the Boston Red Sox throughout the years, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the show Michael Chavis is putting on for the defending World Series champions right now.
Chavis blasted another home run Wednesday in Boston’s 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte, Fla. The 23-year-old prospect now has three home runs and nine RBI through four spring training games this month. In fact, all three of his homers were 3-run shots.
There’s no question Chavis’ performance at the plate is encouraging for the Red Sox. It’s possible Chavis sees a decent amount of games at Fenway Park this season. His power at the plate is impressive, and if he can cut down on his strikeouts and work counts better, he could become a useful bat off the bench. After a long 2018 season that saw Boston play 176 games including the playoffs, Red Sox manager Alex Cora would be wise to find opportunities for his veterans to take plenty of days off, and that could create at-bats for Chavis.
Boston’s farm system has been depleted in recent years as many of its top prospects were either traded for established veterans (most notably Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel) or graduated to the major league roster (Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, etc.). Chavis definitely is one reason to be optimistic about the Sox’ system improving in the near future.
Third base, in particular, is a position of strength for Boston. Devers played well last season in helping the Sox win the World Series. He’s just 22 years old, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he holds down the hot corner for a long time. But if it doesn’t work out with Devers, three of Boston’s top 10 prospects entering 2019 — Chavis, Bobby Dalbec and maybe Triston Casas (he’s more of a first baseman) — all could play third base.
The Red Sox had the highest-scoring offense in all of baseball last year, so there’s unlikely to be any immediate pressure on Chavis to produce at the major league level, but it sure is comforting to have a powerful bat in the minor leagues if needed.
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