Low-A Greenville: Michael Chavis, 3B
Good news, everyone! Michael Chavis doesn't need surgery on his thumb after all, though, you knew that already if you've seen the headline of this article you opened up. (If you haven't seen the headline, please, leave a short comment about what drew you to this post so I know what's working.) Chavis hurt himself back on April 23, but it turns out that he is dealing with a ligament sprain, and not something he'll need to go under the knife for. It's unfortunate Chavis is hurt, of course, but it's better that it's just a sprain, especially given his strong start to the season after a disappointing 2015.
Chavis is still all of 20 years old, but he's also repeating Low-A, so he can't stick around at this level forever. He just got going again at Fort Myers, too, so he won't be back to playing every day just yet, but hopefully he doesn't miss too much more time. If Chavis comes back and keeps tearing things up like he was -- he was batting .365/.415/.576 with half the strikeout rate he had last summer -- he'll be in High-A in no time. Well, maybe. Chavis does play third base, and so does Salem's Rafael Devers, so they might need to figure out some sort of time share. First base could be out of the mix, too, since Nick Longhi -- more on him later -- is still only 20, is a first baseman, and needs his playing time, too.
This leaves out first baseman Josh Ockimey, who is going to end up with an early summer promotion if he keeps crushing Low-A pitching. So, maybe the solution is Longhi back to right field like he often played last summer, Chavis and Devers splitting time between third base and designated hitter, and Ockimey getting the reps at first. Longhi can still get some time at first when either Devers or Chavis has a day off, since Ockimey can slot in at DH for a day here and there, and then everyone is happy. Well, maybe not Carolina League pitchers, but Salem isn't playing this game to make friends.
Triple-A Pawtucket: Pat Light, RHP
Pat Light had a brief stint in Boston which went about as well as you probably envisioned at this stage of his development. He doesn't have his control or command at all times just yet, but hey, he only walked one guy during his inning in Boston, so things could have gone a lot worse.
Don't take this to mean Light isn't someone worth paying attention to, or that he's not a potential key member of a future Red Sox bullpen. He just has some clear work ahead of him before he gets to that point, involving finding not just the strike zone, but also the right parts of it to throw pitches to. If Light and his splitter ever do get that level of accuracy, the opposition is going to need to watch out.
The difficult thing at the moment is that Light needs more innings to work on his control, but he is also probably a better bet in one-inning stints. The former should give him more eventual opportunities for the latter, at least.
Double-A Portland: Williams Jerez, RHP
Williams Jerez flew through Low-A and High-A ball in 2015, then finished the year with 37 innings for Double-A Portland. The Sox kept him there after adding him to the 40-man roster -- Jerez is new to pitching but not new to the organization, so he had run out of time to avoid Rule 5 eligibility -- because his strikeouts had fallen and his walks had gone up. He was still effective, but it was clear he had some things to work on, and some more seasoning at Double-A wasn't going to hurt.
There's proof of that in the start of his 2016, as Jerez has a 4.19 ERA and the lowest strikeout-to-walk ratio of his short career on the mound. That is obviously an issue that needs rectifying, but the most significant problem is the hits he's allowing: Jerez is giving up nearly 12 hits per nine, and only so much of that blame can be laid at the feet of a Sea Dogs team that just isn't playing good baseball.
The issue is primarily with Jerez's repertoire, which wasn't tested at the lower levels the way it has been in Double-A. Jerez's fastball is legitimate, but, being newer to pitching, his secondaries are still very much works in progress. As he gets a better feel for them and figures out the when and where of deploying them, we should see Jerez's numbers improve. A couple more ground balls scooped up by the infield wouldn't hurt, either, but that's out of Jerez's hands.
High-A Salem: Nick Longhi, 1B
More on Longhi, as promised. He's hitting .282/.348/.402, and that might not sound like much, but you have to remember two things: One, Longhi is 20 years old and in High-A for the first time, and two, the league-average Carolina League batter is 22.4 years old and hitting .248/.328/.372. Longhi's line isn't perfect, but he seems to be establishing an ability to make contact and draw walks against a whole lot of pitchers who are older than him -- the first baseman has all of nine plate appearances against pitchers younger than he is.
He's showing a bit more power in May, but he's also all of eight games into it, so you shouldn't read too much into that. If he keeps it up and can finish the month with around a .500 slugging, as he has now, then that's a good sign, though. With Longhi, it's a waiting game given his youth, and the thing we're mostly waiting for is to see if his raw power translates into in-game power. He's shown flashes, but that's about it, and his competition isn't going to make it any easier on him as he climbs the ladder.