Red Sox Prospect Preview: Chad De La Guerra

There are 12 baseball players from Grand Canyon University to have made their MLB debuts. The most famous and successful of them all is longtime Los Angeles Angels outfielder Tim Salmon. The next Lope to add his name to the list may just be Chad De La Guerra.

Chad De La GuerraThe infielder is the Boston Red Sox’s No. 25th ranked prospect by hitting a career-high slash line of .283/.361/.437. He was eligible for four straight MLB Drafts from 2011-14; first as a high school senior in California, as a Junior College freshman, then as a sophomore in College of the Canyons (also in Calif.) and finally as a junior in the Phoenix-based GCU, but went unselected each year.

At GCU, De La Guerra won the Western Athletic Conference batting title with a .373 average in 2014. He went on a 24-game hitting streak during his senior season in 2015. He finally got the respect he was looking for and was rewarded by the Red Sox with a $5,000 signing bonus and a 17th round selection.

De La Guerra struggled during his first two seasons in pro ball, hitting only .265 for the Lowell Spinners in 2015 and .250 for the Greenville Drive in 2016. Fracturing his lower leg that season didn’t help much either. After a career year between Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland, there’s hope for more this season.

Is De La Guerra The Next Brock Holt?

De la Guerra spent most of last season at shortstop as a way to expand towards a utility role. He also saw action at third base in the Arizona Fall League. He has demonstrated to be a capable and steady defender with sure hands but an average arm.

De la Guerra is clearly working towards a niche as the next Eduardo Nunez, a utility infielder who can land a starting role if he can hit for high average. If he ever learned to play in the outfield, he could also become the next Brock Holt. Holt was an All-Star in 2015 and could hit for average no matter where he played on the diamond. So that would be a good place to strive for.

De la Guerra will be starting the season in Triple-A Pawtucket, along with Sam Travis and Tzu-Wei Lin.

Sea Dog’s Nick Lovullo And Tate Matheny Just Like Their Old Man-ager

Infielder Nick Lovullo and center fielder Tate Matheny moved up the ladder to the Portland Sea Dogs. They’re also the sons of St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. The Cardinals played the Diamondbacks during their home opener this season, which served as the one time the two teammates had opposing rooting interests.

Matheny played in the big leagues for 12 years. As a catcher for the Cardinals, he was on the other side of the Red Sox’s historic World Series victory in 2004. He took over the managerial position in 2012 after Tony La Russa led the Cardinals to a World Series title in 2011 just before retiring. Just a year later, Matheny and Lovullo were on opposing dugouts during the 2013 World Series. Lovullo was Boston’s bench coach for manager John Farrell’s staff. He followed Farrell to Fenway after two years in Toronto as the first base coach.

For Lovullo, the Blue Jays job followed a decade long coaching career in the minor leagues. Nick was a freshman on the Holy Cross baseball team the year his father celebrated winning the World Series at Fenway Park. In Lovullo’s last season as the Red Sox’s bench coach, Nick was starting his professional career with the Lowell Spinners 30 miles north of Boston.

2016: The Year of Two Lovullo Pros

2016 was a special year for the Lovullos, as Torey would go see Nick play short season Single-A ball in Lowell and Nick would then be in attendance for the Red Sox’s post season series against the Cleveland Indians. Torey got to see Nick get his first hit as a pro on Father’s Day.

“Lowell will always have a special place in my heart,” Nick said.

The Arizona managerial job was a dream come true for the senior Lovullo. Nick split his time last season as a Red Sox minor leaguer and Diamondback fanatic.

“It was pretty special, he said. “Knowing that when he got done playing, that was his goal. His dream was to become a Major League manager. I saw firsthand on how hard he worked.”

Red Sox Top Prospect Michael Chavis Suspended 80 Games

MLB has announced that Boston Red Sox top prospect Michael Chavis has suspended for 80 games after testing positive for a prohibited performance-enhancing substance, dehydrochlormethyltestosterone.Michael Chavis

Chavis was coming off a career-high 31 home runs last season split between Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland. Before 2017, his career total for home runs was 25, which spanned over three seasons.

An oblique injury kept Chavis from showcasing his ability against Major League pitching in spring training. He is still on the disabled list. Once he returns from his suspension, he is expected to start in Portland and finish in Pawtucket.

Michael Chavis Was Expected To Become The Next Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers started last season in Portland and finished at the hot corner for the Red Sox in the ALDS. Since then, wondering eyes have shifted towards the Sea Dogs expecting another prospect to emerge as a rookie phenom. Chavis has positioned himself to be the Devers of this year after hitting more home runs than any other Red Sox minor leaguer.

Chavis can generate a lot of bat speed through his natural strength. What makes him special is he doesn’t have to use his full power to launch balls over the fence. He has also been able to hit for average once he stopped trying to pull everything out for a homer.

With third base blocked by Devers, Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland taking up first base and J.D. Martinez locking up the DH spot, the plan this season might be to move Chavis to second base.  At that position, he could develop into a Jedd Gyorko/Dan Uggla type.

It wouldn’t be a new experience for Chavis, who was a shortstop in high school before making the switch to third base at the beginning of his pro career. As a high school senior in Marietta, GA, Chavis paved his path to the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft with power. by winning the home run derby at the 2013 Perfect Game All-American Classic and by batting .580 with 13 homers in 28 games.

Rafael Devers Promoted to Red Sox

It has certainly been an odd, unsuccessful and grossly disappointing week plus for the Red Sox since the All-Star break. Now, Dave Dombrowski is getting bold, but not in the trade market. With top prospect Rafael Devers promoted to the big club, the Red Sox are looking for a spark plug.

On the field, Boston has yet to win a series since the Fourth of July. Off it, they lost out on Rafael Devers calleda deal that looked like it was already done. Sure, missing out on Todd Frazier is not monumental, but the organization is surely disappointed. They felt they could get a guy to plug in some of their holes at a very low price. That is no longer the case, so it is time to embrace what they already have.

Devers will be with the team Monday in Seattle and is already expected to make his first start Tuesday. This is a kid who, just last month, was playing in Portland. After a cup of coffee in Pawtucket, here he comes Red Sox fans. Much like Andrew Benintendi last year, he joins the team in Seattle to fill an immediate need. Benintendi skipped AAA and Devers might as well have, but can we expect similar results?

Devers didn’t become the top prospect in the Red Sox system by accident. This season in Portland, he mashed 18 homers and 56 RBI while hitting .300. In all, he racked up 40 extra base hits in 77 games before being promoted to AAA. In nine games with Pawtucket, he hit .324, including a night where he went 4-4 with a homer. Devers’ glove is still raw, but his offense has shown he is ready for the major leagues.

Rafael Devers Promoted With Big Expectations

Third base has been a glaring problem for the Red Sox all year. Starting with the dumpster fire that was Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox have been reeling at that position. With the rest of the lineup being just horrendous on a good day, that spot becomes even more important. Without the league’s best offense, third base turns from a want to a need. Now, if the Red Sox can’t upgrade there, a deep playoff run can be compromised.

While third base is a major issue right now, it doesn’t look like Dombrowski will try to solve it at the trade deadline. If he can add a bullpen arm, Boston should be in really good shape. Their offense won’t be number one, but it sure can’t get much worse. With their starting pitching, this is a team built for the postseason. If they can bolster their bullpen, they could be a tremblingly dangerous team come October.

So, the kid is gonna get a shot, whether he likes it or not. And yes, he will be expected to produce. He’s not going to make this team Murderer’s Row, but he should make them better. Since Devers didn’t even play AA till this year, this could be a lot of pressure. The 20 year-old will be thrusted in like Xander Bogaerts was in 2013. We all remember how Bogaerts thrived and what the Red Sox did that year, don’t we? So stay up late Tuesday night, you just might see the birth of a new era and a new Red Sox team.

Don’t Rush Another Rafael Devers Promotion

At some point this summer, the Rafael Devers promotion was inevitable, especially considering his dominance of Double-A and the lack of organizational at third base. In Portland, Devers hit an even .300 with 56 RBI and 18 HR in 77 games. Of course, that was more than enough production to gain a call-up to Pawtucket.

Rafael Devers promotion

Thus, the 20-year-old is a stud. No questions asked. But that’s exactly why the Red Sox shouldn’t rush him.

Whenever this topic is brought up, a lot of comparisons are made to Andrew Benintendi (age 21) last season. However, Benintendi had already played two full seasons of D-I college ball in the Southeastern Conference before he was even drafted. Devers, on the other hand, was signed at age 17 and has less than 80 games in the high minors.

Dave Dombrowski vowed in a press conference on Friday that the Red Sox would not put pressure on Devers to contribute during a pennant race.

Ultimately, Devers needs the extra time in Triple-A to develop his defense and mature in all facets before he is rushed to Boston. I believe the Red Sox can invest in the 2017 team and make them competitive for a championship. I also believe they can do this without rushing another Rafael Devers promotion and certainly without trading him.

Best Course of Action

If the Red Sox want to acquire Todd Frazier or Martin Prado on a rental and buy time for Devers then I’m all ears. But Red Sox fans should not want to over pay with prospects and commit to Prado or Frazier long term. Tzu-Wei Lin and Deven Marrero could get the job done as long as the rest of the lineup hits.

The team finally solved their shortstop problem with Xander Bogaerts. Now they need to solve their third base problem with Rafael Devers.

By season’s end, he’ll probably have about 175-225 AB’s with the PawSox. Should he have a phenomenal Spring Training in February, the job could be Devers’ in April.

Although regardless of how this season or the spring pans out, it’s important to not rush young talent. There’s a certain third baseman in Round Rock, TX that could agree, and he shares my name.

Red Sox Prospects All-Mid-Season Team

As the month of July begins, we created an All-Star team for Red Sox Prospects who

Red Sox Prospectshave spent the entire season within the organization. However, we did not include players from Lowell as their season just began a few weeks ago.

Without further ado, here is the complete list.

 

Starting Rotation

Jalen Beeks – LHP – Portland/Pawtucket

Bryan Mata – RHP – Greenville

Brian Johnson – LHP – Pawtucket/Boston

Roniel Raudes – RHP – Salem

Teddy Stankiewicz – RHP – Portland

Bullpen

Austin Maddox – RHP – Portland/Pawtucket/Boston

Jamie Callahan – RHP – Portland/Pawtucket

Bobby Poyner – LHP – Salem/Portland

Pat Goetze – RHP – Greenville

Josh Smith – LHP – Portland/Pawtucket

Shaun Anderson – RHP – Greenville/Salem

Lineup

CF – Danny Mars – Portland

2B – Chad de la Guerra – Salem/Portland

DH – Rafael Devers – Portland

LF – Bryce Brentz – Pawtucket

3B – Michael Chavis – Salem/Portland

1B – Josh Ockimey – Salem

SS – Tzu-Wei Lin – Portland/Boston

RF – Ryan Scott – Greenville

C – Austin Rei – Greenville

Bench

OF – Steve Selsky – Pawtucket/Boston

INF – CJ Chatham – Greenville

C – Jordan Procyshen – Portland

Util – Heiker Meneses – Portland/Pawtucket

Red Sox Prospects Breakdown

While some of the decisions were very difficult to make, certain players stood out because of their tremendous performances. For example, Rafael Devers and his 16 home runs, Michael Chavis and his .300+ batting average. Then, of course, Jalen Beeks and his 1.1 K’s per inning. Just to name a few.

Similarly, young stars in Low-A ball like Bryan Mata and Austin Rei have consistently excelled, making way for potential second-half call-ups to High-A Salem. Meanwhile, Tzu-Wei Lin and Austin Maddox have already exceeded expectations and played in Boston.

Additionally, players such as Jordan Procyshen and Ryan Scott have come out the woodwork and become solid contributors at their respective positions. Further, Procyshen shines defensively and Ryan Scott has hit for consistent average all year.