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Checking in on Red Sox prospects in the Arizona Fall League

How are the kids doing in the desert?

2014 MLB Draft Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Every year, while the major-league postseason is taking place, many of the top prospects in the game all gather together in Arizona to participate in a six-week grind. It is not your normal league, as there are just six teams who all share players from around the league. This year, the Red Sox players are on the league-leading Peoria Javelinas. The season is just about halfway done already, with fourteen of the 30 games in the books. It’s been a mixed bag for the Red Sox prospects on the roster, so let’s take a look at some of the performances down in the desert. It should be noted that this is generally an offense-first league, both due to climate, parks and the fact that pitchers are feeling the effects of pitching this late into the season.

Michael Chavis

49 ABs, .265/.288/.408, 1 HR, 4 2B, 0 3B

Chavis is clearly the headliner for the Red Sox down in Arizona and he’s using this showcase as an endcap for his breakout 2017. He’s been....fine in the desert, showing off some of that extra-base hit power but struggling a bit to get on base. It should be mentioned that there are a lot of top pitching prospects in the league, so drawing walks could be a bit more difficult down in this league. Either way, even with the low OBP it’s not nearly enough to be discouraged after everything Chavis has done this year.

Josh Tobias

24 ABs, .375/.407/.458, 0 HR, 2 2B, 0 3B

Tobias hasn’t gotten a ton of playing time, but the infielder who came to the Red Sox in the Clay Buchholz trade last winter has been stellar when he’s gotten to play this fall. This is mostly just him getting hits to fall in, as his power and his patience haven’t been all that impressive. That being said, he’s making plenty of contact and that’s enough. It was something of a rough year for Tobias and he’s a bit older than many of the prospects down in the AFL, but it’s still nice for him to go out on a high note.

Chad De La Guerra

20 ABs, .250/.318/.650, 2 HR, 0 2B, 1 3B

De La Guerra has never really been on the prospect radar, but he put together a strong year splitting time almost evenly between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland in 2017. That performance was enough to earn him this showcase down in Arizona, and while he hasn’t played much he has a few big hits that have boosted his overall line. He’s got the line-drive orientation and speed to slug his way to doubles and triples, though the two home runs he’s already hit is a bit of a surprise.

Henry Owens

9 IP, 10.00 ERA, 12 H, 9 K, 7 BB

Chavis is the most talented Red Sox player down in Arizona, but Owens’ performance in the league is arguably the most important. He took another major step back in his development in 2017, eventually getting demoted to Double-A to work on a new delivery. The numbers didn’t translate to Portland, unfortunately, and he’s still struggling with consistency and control in the desert. It seems that the only hope Owens has at this point is a change of scenery, but clearly he doesn’t have much trade value at this point.

Bobby Poyner

5.1 IP, 6.75 ERA, 6 H, 6 K, 1 BB

Poyner was outstanding in the regular season for the Red Sox this year, particularly in the second half of the year when he was in Portland. He more than earned this shot in Arizona, and he’s been a bit of a victim of the small sample sizes. The strikeout and walk numbers are great, but he’s given up a few too many hits, one of which being a home run. Still, this performance at this level is something the Red Sox can be encouraged by.

Ty Buttrey

4.1 IP, 2.08 ERA, 6 H, 5 K, 3 BB

Buttrey is a mildly interesting right-handed reliever in the system, and he’s having a mildly interesting time down in Arizona. He’s sort of been the opposite of Poyner, with a nice shiny ERA but less flattering peripherals. He’s getting strikeouts, which is nice, but nine baserunners in 4 13 innings suggests a bit of a command issue.

Kevin McAvoy

3 IP, 9.00 ERA, 4 H, 2 K, 5 BB

McAvoy was the replacement for Brian Johnson on the AFL roster, and the non-prospect is struggling mightily in a relief role. He’s walking way too many batters and allowing too many hits. He was thrust into this league at the last second, and the performance is reflecting that.

You can see the full stats here.