Typically, one year into the career of a first-round draft pick, the hope is that player will be ranked at or near the top of a team's farm system. But for the Red Sox, the recent success of Andrew Benintendi has been the exception rather than the rule. Michael Chavis, on the other hand? Concerningly close to an uninspiring norm. Which is why, even in a system that has a noticeable dropoff past the first four names, we have 2014's first pick rounding out the top-10, rather than leading the way.
Fair is fair, the expectations for Chavis were not quite as high as those surrounding many of Boston's other recent top picks. After all, while this team has had its fair share of bad years in recent memory, there was also that one really good one, and that's the one which brought the Red Sox a late place in the drafting order, leading them to Chavis. The book on him at the time was a big-bat shortstop, which are words to dream on. He also wore a pink bow-tie to the draft. It was a strong foundation to build on.
But he didn't really build on it. Chavis got in 134 at bats with the GCL Red Sox in 2014 which, while not exactly awe-inspiring, were good enough to produce some optimism heading into his first full season. But facing full-season talent for the first time in Greenville, Chavis looked overmatched, plain and simple. He struck out a remarkable 144 times in just 435 at bats, and only reached a .300 OBP in one month of the season. That it came in a decently strong August (.242/.300/.505) might make one think that Chavis progressed, but it also means he was facing the competition that hadn't made it out of Low-A (or had made the jump from a lower level), and even then his last handful of games showed no such strength, as a short September saw him dip all the way down to .179/.233/.357 in 28 at bats.
All told it's hard to look at Chavis' season and find positive ways to spin it. He failed to meet expectations, and it wasn't because expectations were unreasonably high.
Still, Michael Chavis is a first-round pick with just one bad year behind him. He did manage to hit sixteen homers, which could project to rare power if he continues to grow in the years to come. And the scouting reports suggest that he has the chance to fix his strikeout issues if he can make the necessary mental leaps as he gains experience. He's ended up at third, but has the physical tools necessary to play the position well with, again, experience.
It all comes down to that. More time, more reps, and actually turning those reps and that familiarity into results. It's not always as simple as putting the time in. For some players it just never sticks. And there's no guarantee it will ever stick for Chavis. We can only sit, and wait, and hope that it does. Because the ceiling on the young infielder is still very high. Chavis was certainly not a safe pick, and when you see that wild card come out and struggle mightily in his first year, it's easy to get discouraged. Chavis, at least, does not seem the type to fall victim to that, however. He's the type to take this year as motivation. But we can only tell this story for so long. We're going to need to see the on-field results before too long.
- Yoan Moncada
- Andrew Benintendi
- Rafael Devers
- Anderson Espinoza
- Michael Kopech
- Brian Johnson
- Sam Travis
- Luis Alexander Basabe
- Deven Marrero
- Michael Chavis