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Evaluating the Prospects - Michael Chavis

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What do we think of Chavis?

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or are new to the site - welcome!), you’ll be familiar with our top prospect voting. Right now, we’re at the voting for the #16 prospect in the system. It’s a dog-fight between Denyi Reyes and Danny Diaz, and today is the last day of voting so pop over and make your case.

You might be thinking: “We’ve already covered Michael Chavis, what’s the big deal?” Well, something has become apparent throughout the prospect voting process. Even if we can decide the order they belong in our system, we don’t always agree on just how good a player really is. There are people who believe Chavis is a potential all-star, and then there are those who only have him as a major league bench bat. In both cases, these two separate people could have this same prospect as the top in the system, despite their disagreement on just how useful he’ll end up being.

The goal of this series is to determine how we feel about a prospect’s long-term viability, their short-term impact, and any potential value they have with us, to better understand why these prospects are ranking where they are.

The first prospect on the docket is Chavis himself. A brief primer: when he was initially drafted in 2014, he was rated as a great all-around hitter with moderate power. A lot of people liked him, and thought that the Red Sox got great value late in the first round. He was drafted out of high school as a shortstop, but there was an understanding that he wasn’t going to stick there, and his future was always at first or third base.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

He played the 2014 season (his first in the system) at rookie ball, and hit .269/.347/.425, and primarily showed he could be a good gap power hitter. The next two years were disappointing, to put it simply. His walk rate plummeted while his strikeout rate sky-rocketed. He showed power, but little else was looking appealing. After the 2016 season, he was rated as the #14 prospect in the system by SoxProspects behind such names as Marco Hernandez, Sam Travis, and Brian Johnson.

He burst back with a vengeance in 2017, showing to be a more complete player than ever before even if the strikeout to walk ratio was still a touch too high. Whatever forward momentum he had was stopped abruptly by him testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone and being suspended for 80 games.

In 2018, after missing almost all of the season, Chavis played 46 games, most of which were at AA, and he shook the rust off. Development time was limited, so it’s hard to take much from that season. The main thing I noticed was that he got better at hitting with two strikes, but I do not have data to back that up.

2014 MLB Draft Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In 2019, Chavis figures to be an option at either corner infield spot in case of an injury. As of this writing, he’s hit .273/.333/.818, with a club leading 4 home runs in camp. According to Baseball Reference, he’s primarily done this against A+ to AA quality players, which is pretty typical for this time of year.

A piece from his FanGraphs write-up reads: “One-dimensional hitters who are limited on defense tend to end up in a first base platoon (and in this case, it’d be the lesser side of one) or as a low-end starter like Kevin Millar... We think Chavis is a low-end regular, who may be trade bait once he further establishes his level of performance post-suspension.”

Hurting Chavis further is how he is seemingly blocked in Boston. Rafael Devers is in place for years to come, and that’s not likely to change. There’s a full platoon at first for the 2019 campaign, which represents Chavis’ best future location, but the Red Sox have another corner infield prospect in Bobby Dalbec, who may force a tough decision for Dave Dombrowski and Alex Cora. There were early whispers of trying him at second, but with Dustin Pedroia under contract, there’s not much chance for Chavis to break in there, barring an injury (and at this point in his career, that’s entirely possible for ol’ Pedey).

Grades

Michael Chavis is seen as a 50 hit, 60 power, 40 run, 55 arm, 45 fielding prospect, with an overall grade of 55, by mlb.com. FanGraphs has the same player at a future value (they list present and future) of 40 hit, 65 raw power, 55 game power, 40 run, 45 fielding, 55 arm prospect, and an overall grade of 45.

Poll

What grade would you give Michael Chavis for his in-game power?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    <50
    (12 votes)
  • 16%
    50
    (15 votes)
  • 22%
    55
    (20 votes)
  • 33%
    60
    (30 votes)
  • 14%
    >60
    (13 votes)
90 votes total Vote Now

For an idea of what these numbers mean, FanGraphs (a great resource, I tell you what) has an excellent article on what the grades equate to. If you don’t feel like doing the leg work, by that system, mlb.com sees Chavis as a plus power bat, with an above average arm, an average hit tool, and below average running and fielding, with their overall prognosis being that Chavis is solidly above average, with a few holes in his game. In this case, plus power projects out to 23-27 home runs, and his hit tool puts him on pace with Brock Holt’s 2019 campaign (though probably with less walks). By the same system, FanGraphs has him with plus raw power, above average game power, and a below average hit tool (the difference between average and below average is listed as .260 down to .250 for batting average, so take this evaluation with a grain of salt). The 45 overall grade is the most concerning one if you buy into FanGraphs read on Chavis, as a 45 overall equates to a platoon/utility hitter.

My personal belief on Chavis is that he’s going to show you a lot of power, and be pretty close to the “three true outcomes” type of hitter that you will most associate with Adam Dunn or Ryan Howard (though not to the same degree, both guys hit a lot more major league home runs than I expect Chavis to be able to). As for where he fits on the diamond, I’m not even sure he ever gets to play significant time with the Red Sox, and will be dealt in deference to Bobby Dalbec’s talent, for a reliever at the deadline, when Dave Dombrowski realizes our bullpen just isn’t going to be enough in 2019.

So where do you stand? What would you grade Michael Chavis at?

Poll

What would you give Michael Chavis for an overall score?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    <40
    (4 votes)
  • 4%
    40
    (4 votes)
  • 13%
    45
    (12 votes)
  • 29%
    50
    (26 votes)
  • 28%
    55
    (25 votes)
  • 12%
    60
    (11 votes)
  • 7%
    >60
    (7 votes)
89 votes total Vote Now