Well, we have half of our list complete with C.J. Chatham taking the number ten spot on our top-20 list. This wasn’t a super close vote, with Chatham taking 36 percent of the vote after losing in heartbreaking fashion to Michael Chavis in the last edition.
Chatham hasn’t been in the farm system long, as he was just taken in the second round of last summer’s draft. The shortstop was taken out of Florida Atlantic University, and was seen as a reach by some. While I don’t doubt that the Red Sox like the talent here, I would assume at least part of the reason he was selected was because he could possibly be signed for below slot. They knew they’d need a little extra money after taking Jason Groome in the first round, and sure enough Chatham signed more than $100,000 under slot.
Regardless of why they selected him, he was with the organization starting last summer. After being drafted, it was discovered that he had a broken thumb, which delayed his debut by a couple of weeks. Eventually, he’d get a few games in Florida with the Gulf Coast League before spending the rest of the year with Low-A Lowell. As a member of the Spinners, Chatham didn’t make the greatest first impression. He hit just .259/.319/.426 in his first season. That, of course, isn’t terrible, but it’s not the noteworthy debut we’ve seen from some recent college picks as they start their careers in Lowell.
On the scouting side of things, Chatham doesn’t have any one tool that stands out but could be solid across the board. At the plate, he profiles as a contact-based hitter who could surprise some with a little pop. He’s a line drive hitter for now, but multiple evaluators are open to the possibility of him adding more power as he gains more experience. People are more split with him on defense, mostly based on projection. His glove right now is solid, as he has good instincts and a strong arm which can make up for his fine-but-unspectacular range. The issue is his size. At 6’4", he’s a little tall for the position and some foresee him moving elsewhere eventually. However, we’ve seen tall shortstops succeed before, and there’s no reason he can’t follow that path as well.
Entering his age-22 season, expect Chatham to be sent to full-season ball in Greenville. He hasn’t given them any reason to fast track him, so it’s entirely possible he’ll spend the entire season there. On the other hand, he’s advanced both in age and in mental ability, so a strong start to the season could allow him to finish the year in Salem and set him up for a 2018 debut in Double-A Portland.
- Andrew Benintendi
- Rafael Devers
- Jason Groome
- Sam Travis
- Bobby Dalbec
- Brian Johnson
- Marco Hernandez
- Roniel Raudes
- Michael Chavis
- C.J. Chatham
Now, we move on to the second-half of the list. As always, cast your vote below.