The Red Sox offense is turning a corner, but would it make sense to part with a rising prospect?
If you had asked Dave Dombrowski and Alex Cora when Michael Chavis would make his Major League debut, they almost certainly would not have expected within a month of the 2019 season beginning. After a rollercoaster season in 2018 beginning with a PED suspension, and concluding with a torrid offensive streak, the rising prospect made a name for himself in Spring Training.
Regardless of the raw power that was on display in Fort Myers, the Red Sox had Dustin Pedroia, Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt, and Tzu-Wei Lin ahead of him in the depth chart. Heck, even Christian Vazquez got a start at second before he did!
However, here we are, 26 game into the season and the Sox are beginning to wonder if they can part ways with the top prospect in the organization. To begin, the Red Sox are 5-2 since Chavis was called up to the Major League club. While his offensive numbers aren’t mind-blowing, it’s his presence at the plate that is making a difference for the order.
It’s rare that you see a rookie receive multiple breaking balls in each at-bat, let alone a few games removed from his MLB debut. However, pitchers are actively mixing pitch selection against the young power hitter in fear of him launching another Fenway bomb.
Michael Chavis has an average exit velocity 95.9 mph, per Baseball Savant.— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) April 26, 2019
If Chavis had the plate appearances to qualify for the Baseball Savant stat leaderboard, a 95.9 mph average exit velocity would rank as the 4th best in all of Major League Baseball. The Red Sox have struggled towards the bottom of the order in 2019 and Chavis has done an excellent job at providing length to the lineup.
As of now, it would be hard to imagine a situation where the Red Sox would willingly send down Michael Chavis. If an injured player were to return, Lin would likely be the first player sent down. Purely from an offensive standpoint, this would be the correct decision. The Red Sox are working him into the lineup, regardless of matchups, which justifies this move.
If Nunez or Pedroia were to return, it would have to be proven that the youngster could handle every-day defensive opportunities before they would consider a potential DFA for Nunez. On numerous occasions, the Red Sox have replaced Chavis with Lin for defensive purposes in the later parts of a game. Alex Cora doesn’t have full trust in his budding star just yet, but if he begins to earn it, don’t be surprised if the Red Sox part ways with a familiar face.
It’s beginning to feel like 2017 with Rafael Devers. The Red Sox offense is clicking and are being fueled by the spark of a youngster, Michael Chavis.