Michael Chavis Promoted to Double-A Portland

According to sources from The Boston Globe and SoxProspects.com, Red Sox infield prospect Michael Chavis is being promoted to Double-A Portland. Infielder Chad de la Guerra is also being promoted to the Sea Dogs, who begin a homestand Friday.

In Salem, Chavis was hitting .318 with 17 home runs, 17 doubles, and 55 RBI in 59 games. De la Guerra was hitting .294 with 5 homers and 36 RBI.

Michael Chavis

Both will join a Portland infield that already includes top prospect Rafael Devers, Nick Longhi, Tzu-Wei Lin, and journeyman Mike Olt. Many speculate that this move is a precursor to the promotion of Devers (.297, 14 HR) to Triple-A Pawtucket. However, it remains to be seen what the Red Sox plan to do with their top talent.

Chavis and Devers could end up splitting some time short term, much like they did in 2015 with Greenville. There is no question that these two are special players, but their long-term development is ultimately the most important goal.

Prospects on the Move

This move follows what has already been a dynamic spring for the Red Sox farm system. So far, the Sea Dogs alone have seen the likes of Jalen Beeks, Ty Buttrey, Aneury Tavarez, Jamie Callahan, Austin Maddox, and Heiker Meneses move up to Triple-A and beyond. Likewise, Travis Lakins, Josh Tobias, Bobby Poyner, and now Chavis have left Salem for the Pine Tree State. Sam Travis made is major league debut as well.

These moves are also in the foreground of what could be an interesting trade season for the big league club. While it’s unlikely the Red Sox would trade someone like Devers or Jay Groome, other prospects could be on the move.

Despite all the ambiguity, one thing is certain. Michael Chavis, Chad de la Guerra, Rafael Devers, and others have performed exceptionally this season. And as many Red Sox fans worried about the longevity of the farm system, a renaissance has been born.

Devers, Longhi Homer, Sea Dogs Beat Erie

Erie, PA – A one-hour thirty-seven-minute rain delay didn’t hold back the Portland offense, as they defeated the Erie SeaWolves behind home runs from Rafael Devers and Nick Longhi.
Portland had a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the third inning when play was stopped due to rain. Teddy Stankiewicz (ND) did return to the game, working just 2.2 innings.
Nick Longhi
LHP Jake Drehoff (W, 1-0) pitched a career-high 4.1 innings on two hits, two runs and seven strikeouts (career-high).  Drehoff allowed a two-run homer to Grayson Greiner, the first batter he faced, but retired the final nine hitters.
The Sea Dogs batted around for the second time on the trip, picking up seven hits against Artie Lewicki (L, 4-3) in the second. Henry Urrutia knocked in the first run of the series with a single. During a run of five straight hits, Jake Romanski, Jake DePew and Danny Mars picked up RBIs. Tzu-Wei Lin delivered a sacrifice fly and Rafael Devers capped off the scoring with a triple.
Erie scored five times in the third off Stankiewicz and Drehoff, but that would be as close as they would get.
Portland scored three in the fifth inning, receiving a two-run double by Josh Tobias. Nick Longhi and Devers each homered late in the game. Longhi has homered in consecutive games and Devers has hit a home run in four of his last six starts.
RHP Jake Cosart closed out the win with two scoreless innings.
Portland received an RBI and hit from eight of nine starters. Mars had three hits for the second straight game.

The Road Ahead for Longhi and Friends

The Sea Dogs and Erie SeaWolves (Tigers affiliate) continue their three-game series on Tuesday night at UPMC Park. RHP Elih Villanueva (1-1, 11.57) makes his 3rd start of the year for Portland. Erie’s A.J. Ladwig (3-1, 4.17) makes his eighth start of the year. First pitch from Erie, Pennsylvania is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
Listen live on the U.S. Cellular Sea Dogs Radio Network beginning at 6:50 PM and watch on MiLB.TV starting at 7:00 PM.
Tickets for Portland’s next homestand on June 23-29 are available at seadogs.com or 207-879-9500.
Press Release courtesy of the Portland Sea Dogs. 

Altoona Curve Grab the Series Finale Over the ‘Dogs

Altoona, PA – The Altoona Curve (35-29) scored four times in the fourth inning and Alex McRae (5-2) hurled seven innings, defeating the Portland Sea Dogs (29-32), 7-1 on Thursday afternoon at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

Altoona Curve

McRae tossed seven innings on four hits, one run and fanned five, earning his first career win against Portland. LHP Trey Ball (1-6) suffered the loss, yielding eight hits and five runs over four innings pitched.

The Curve snapped a 1-1 tie with a four-run second against Ball. Zane Chavez snapped a 1-1 tie with a run-scoring single. Kevin Newman and Edwin Espinal added RBI hits in the frame. Altoona scored two in the eighth on a two-run homer by Jerrick Suiter.

The Altoona Curve took a 1-0 lead in the second inning against Ball. Kevin Newman delivered an RBI infield single, but Ball got out of the inning with a double play.

Rafael Devers tied the game in the fourth inning with a solo-homer to right field. Devers set a new career-high with his 12th homer, which leads the team.

LHP Jake Drehoff worked three scoreless in relief of Ball, allowing one hit and fanning two.

The Road Ahead

The Sea Dogs open up a three-game series on Friday night against the Akron RubberDucks (Indians affiliate) at Canal Park. RHP Jacob Dahlstrand (5-1, 5.79) makes his 13th appearance for the ‘Dogs in the series opener.  LHP Matt Whitehouse (2-3, 3.40) gets the starting nod for Akron. First pitch from Ohio is 7:00 PM.

Listen live on the U.S. Cellular Sea Dogs Radio Network beginning at 6:55 PM and watch on MiLB.TV starting at 6:55 PM.

Tickets for Portland’s next homestand on June 23-29 are available at seadogs.com or 207-879-9500.

Michael Chavis, Rafael Devers, Represent the Future at Third

Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers are not household names in Red Sox Nation yet, but they very well could be soon.

Michael Chavis

When the team traded Travis Shaw and Yoan Moncada last offseason, they were ultimately committing to Pablo Sandoval to play third base. Especially considering it was their originally plan when they signed him to a five-year $90-million-dollar deal. Although with nagging injuries to both Sandoval and Marco Hernandez, Deven Marrero has had the most reps so far this season.

Despite upside in many or all of these players, none of them seem to be a long term plan. Rather, the Red Sox have two future options developing in the minors.

Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers have the potential to be All-Stars. But their young age means they’re a few years away from making a splash.

With Salem, Chavis is hitting .357 in 41 games with 12 home runs. His OPS is 1.130 as of May 31, a truly elite number for a minor leaguer. Chavis already has more RBI (41) in as many games with Salem than he did in 74 games with Greenville last year.

The following scouting report on his hitting mechanics says Chavis has “a short, compact swing. Wide base in stance. Starts slightly open and utilizes a toe-tap timing device. Quick hands and loose at the plate. Possesses plus bat speed. Tracks the ball well. Swing can get long, creating a hole on the inner half. Developing approach and pitch recognition skills. Potential solid-average to plus hit tool.”

His baseball IQ and coachability is also an upside.

However, Chavis hasn’t been promoted to Portland yet because the Sea Dogs have a superstar of their own. Rafael Devers is also and third baseman. And this season, he has been on fire as well.

As of May 19, Devers was hitting .325 – but has since cooled off a little to a humble .288 average. Regardless, he has been a driving force in the Portland offense, slashing .288/.348/.497 in 43 games.

Bottom Line

Both players are obviously too young to make an impact in Boston this season. It’s arguably better for their development to get at-bats in the minors. Some may make comparisons to Andrew Benintendi. But let’s not forget he also played two years of NCAA baseball in the SEC.

Chavis and Devers, on the other hand, turned pro at high schools ages. Therefore, they have needed extra minor league time to develop. If given the chance to mature properly and not be rushed, one or both of these players could occupy the hot corner at Fenway soon.

Is A Todd Frazier Trade The Answer For The Red Sox?

With the Red Sox off to a disappointing start, Dave Dombrowski and his disciples are desperately scrambling for some Flex Seal to cover the holes of a sinking ship. The two major holes are on the corner infield as well as another starting pitcher. The Red Sox’s Todd Frazier traderecent trip to scout the White Sox seemed like it could cover all those problems. The result of the trip? Swirling rumors of a Todd Frazier trade.

The lack of production at third base has been no small story for the Red Sox the last few years. The problem has grown tremendously this season. Pablo Sandoval has missed the last month with a knee injury and was underachieving before his DL stint. So yeah, the Red Sox need help at third, but is Todd Frazier the answer for this issue?

Frazier’s 2017 hasn’t been stellar by any means, either. The two-time All Star is below the Mendoza line, hitting .195 with only four homers and 17 RBI. Not one to hit for average, he only hit .225 in 2016 but mashed 40 homers. He is a dead pull hitter which would obviously be extremely favorable playing at Fenway Park. His numbers this year, however, aren’t much further off than Sandoval’s and Frazier has played the whole year.

Most Red Sox fans reasonably thought the scouts were going to Chicago to see starter Jose Quintana. Quintana has been Chicago’s ace this year and the White Sox haven’t been shy about putting him on the trading block. The problem with that would be the price. The Red Sox are desperate for a starter and everyone knows it so the price will sky-rocket. With all the prospects Boston has given up over the last two seasons, that may be near impossible at this juncture.

So we move back to Frazier. The price for him should be astronomically less even though they are desperate for a third baseman as well. Frazier has almost no value to any other contender. With the White Sox about to blow things up after a 20-22 start, they’ll be looking to get Frazier off their hands and eat up most of his salary.

That being said, this might not actually be a terrible deal. Look, Frazier isn’t gonna hit .300 or even .250 probably, but he has some value. He is an every day player who can play both first and third. With Hanley Ramirez’s nagging injury, that can finally allow Mitch Moreland the occasional day off. He will also bring some power to a lineup that has absolutely none right now. With no pop coming from Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, or Dustin Pedroia right now, that could be crucial.

Next year, Rafael Devers and possibly Sam Travis will be ready to go at those positions. For now, they’re desperate. If they can get Frazier at a nice price without giving up high-end prospects, this could be alright. I’m not exactly ecstatic about this, but the Red Sox need something right now. In the end, like any of these deals, it needs to be the right price. Dave Dombrowski never overpays, right? Right?

What Are The Red Sox Third Base Options?

Since the days of Mike Lowell, the Boston Red Sox third base situation has been in a constant state of change. First were Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis. There was promise of Will Middlebrooks and, briefly, Jose Iglesias. Next came the Xander Bogaerts experiment and the Pablo Sandoval signing, followed by the Travis Shaw rise and fall.

red sox third base

This season, it’s been even more of a revolving door. After an impressive spring, Pablo Sandoval got his job back. When Sandoval was injured in late April, Marco Hernandez received some playing time. Then when Hernandez went down, journeyman Josh Rutledge got the opportunity. Since his struggles, however, former top draft pick Deven Marrero has been on the field. All of these injuries and slumps inconveniently happened while the original backup, Brock Holt, is recovering from vertigo.

In addition, the offensive and defensive production at third base for the Red Sox leaves a lot to be desired no matter who is on the field. Obviously, some of this is due to their inexperience, but when a contending team like the Red Sox needs consistent production, ironically changes tend to be made.

Currently, the Red Sox do not even have a third baseman who qualifies with enough at-bats to be ranked for batting average. The only players remotely close are Rutledge and Sandoval, who are batting .281 and .213 respectively. Sandoval, if healthy, would be third-to-last in the AL in batting average as of today. In the field, Hernandez and Sandoval rank in the top ten in errors committed, despite only playing in a combined total of 23 games.

Current Red Sox Third Base Options

So who will end up being the answer at third base? One could argue it will be Sandoval when he returns from the disabled list simply because he was the starter. It most likely will not be Rutledge or Hernandez full-time because they are just utility infielders by trade.

If not Sandoval, the Red Sox are left with few options. They could stick with Marrero because of his sound defense, but lose pop in the lineup. Considering they are already last in the American League in home runs, that is not a good idea.

Another option would be to ride it out until the trade deadline, see what Panda has to offer, then try to acquire somebody like David Freese, Danny Valencia, or even free-agent Brett Lawrie or old friend Will Middlebrooks.

The last option is unlikely but possible. Top infield prospect Rafael Devers is currently hitting .333 with a .403 SLG and a 1.007 OPS. He only has 4 errors in 27 games at Portland as well.

Ultimately, Dave Dombrowski will need to make a decision soon – as the Red Sox struggle to find offensive consistency.