Is Red Sox Prospect Michael Chavis the Future at Second?

Due to modern day defensive shifts in the major leagues, the physical requirements of a second baseman have changed in recent years. Nowadays, you can spot players built like corner infielders manning a middle infield position. For Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis, the evolving nature of the position might be his best chance to get that quality bat tool of his into the major league lineup.

Mostly known for his hitting prowess, the newest addition to the Boston clubhouse is going to get a chance to show what he can do on the field. Let’s look at some of the reasons why Chavis’ stay in the big leagues might blossom into something more.

Dustin Pedroia’s uncertain status opens the door

With Pedroia back to the injured list with knee issues, the future of second base sort of Red Sox prospect Michael Chavishangs in the balance. This was supposed to be the season in which the team’s longest-tenured vet would return to full health for the first time since 2016. Another setback, albeit not expected to be serious, relegates Pedroia to the injured list. Joining him are Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt, who had been struggling anyways, leaving the Sox thin at the position. Enter Chavis.

Drafted as a shortstop, Chavis has spent most of his time in pro ball at third, while also seeing some work at first the last couple seasons. Before his call up, he appeared in five games at second in Triple-A Pawtucket. The versatility could indeed add to Chavis’ value, given his proven ability to hit well across all levels so far. If Pedroia continues to battle injuries, this might be Chavis’ opportunity to steal the position away. That opportunity is contingent on whether Holt and Nunez remained injured and/or ineffective.

The physical requirements of a second baseman have changed

Previously, teams looked for quick, agile players that could cover a lot of ground on the right side of the diamond. You needed somebody who could avoid contact on the base and still turn two. But with analytics has come more targeted field positioning, more often putting second baseman right in line with where hitters are most commonly putting the ball. With that, teams are starting to place bulkier players at second to keep their bats in the lineup. Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis, weighing in a 216 lbs., far exceeds the build of the traditional second baseman.

The Milwaukee Brewers are the trendsetters in this area, given how they have used Travis Shaw and Mike Moustakas in the field. Shaw, a corner infielder with pop, and Moustakas, a natural third baseman with power, both saw significant innings at second base last season. That trend has continued into 2019, with Moustakas getting the majority of the time there. The versatility of these players allows manager Craig Counsell to keep their productive bats in the everyday lineup. This can be a similar path to get Chavis innings at the big league level.

Chavis can be a spark plug like former prospects before him

In 2016 and 2017, the Sox were in search of a spark, and in came Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers. The two top prospects emerged and hit .295/.359/.476 and .284/.356/.329, respectively, in their first tastes of the majors. As an early season addition, Chavis, if given enough playing time, could be the next in line. If the depth chart remains thin, the job could be Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis’ to lose.

Should Red Sox Shop for a Replacement for David Ortiz?

Should the Red Sox shop for a replacement for David Ortiz? While many are looking at Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts to take over for Ortiz when he retires, I’m starting to wonder if it would be a good idea to look outside the Red Sox organization for new replacement for David Ortizblood and snatch someone from another team.

Now, before anyone slams me for saying this, keep in mind that Ortiz himself wasn’t home-grown. Ortiz came over from in 2003 after a few years of inconsistent hitting with the Minnesota Twins. In fact, it was Pedro Martinez who pushed Theo Epstein to sign Ortiz, who later helped the Red Sox win their first World Series in eighty-six years. There’s a few reasons why looking elsewhere for a replacement would be a great idea.

First, veterans on the team like Dustin Pedrioa, Clay Bucholtz, and even Ortiz himself could  make suggestions to Dave Dombrowski, just like Martinez did for Epstein. They’ve been around the game for many years and definitely know good talent when they see it. While there’s more than plenty of talent in the organization already, especially in Pawtucket (I’m looking at you Josh Rutledge and Henry Owens!), the Red Sox need a leader. They need a younger but seasoned player who can join the team sooner than later before Ortiz leaves. By then, this new leader will be able to take the reigns from Ortiz more smoothly.

Let’s look at Baltimore’s Manny Machado. He’s young, hit 35 home runs last season, and has a solid batting average. He’d mesh well with the younger players like Travis Shaw and Mookie Betts. Then there’s Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas, another young player who helped lead the Royals to the World Series last year with 22 home runs. The Red Sox could use that kind of experience on the team. These two guys are young enough that they’ll be around for years to come and with experience, can lead the Red Sox to another post-season appearance.

Could Replacement for David Ortiz Come From The National League?

If the Red Sox shop for someone outside of the American League they might find strong talent in the Mets organization. Travis Taijeron, who has yet to play a major league game, has already been named a top rookie in the Mets camp, and hit 27 home runs last season in the minors. He hasn’t made it to the majors yet, but the alternative hitting perspective he’d bring to the Red Sox would benefit other hitters who could look to him to see how his hitting improved with other teams. In other words, he could provide an alternative perspective.

Whoever it is that takes Ortiz’s place in the lineup, whether it’s someone already with the Red Sox, or someone from another team,  it’ll most likely surprise those in the Red Sox Nation. Few thought Ortiz would be a major benefit for the Red Sox when he signed with them in 2003, so it’s possible that his successor might follow a similar path. So who knows who it’ll be? Maybe he’s already on the team, or with another team, just waiting for the right time and place to take his rightful place in the lineup.