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.

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.

Red Sox Promote Andrew Benintendi

Overnight, the Red Sox promoted prized prospect Andrew Benintendi to the Major Leagues, adding to the trade deadline intrigue. Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald broke the news, and Michael Martinez was designated for assignment to make way for Benintendi. The outfielder will join the team in Seattle on Tuesday.

Who is Andrew Benintendi?

Andrew Benintendi

Benintendi was a first round pick in the 2015 draft, and his rise has been meteoric. He reached Single-A in his first professional season, and has dominated this year, too. A .312/.378/.532 slash line at High-A Salem earned Benintendi a promotion to Double-A Portland. In 63 games with the Sea Dogs, he slashed .295/.357/.515 with 8 home runs and 44 RBI. That piqued the attention of Dave Dombrowski, who will slot the 22-year old in left field amid a heated pennant race.

Andrew Benintendi is the Red Sox’ number two prospect, behind Yoan Moncada. A lefty hitter, he is above average in every facet of the game, with obvious upside offensively. His promotion should provide a jolt of energy to the Red Sox, with Brock Holt likely sliding back into a utility role.

The Risk of Skipping Triple-A

Even though Benintendi is very highly rated, this is a risky move. The guy has still only played 151 professional baseball games. None of them were above Double-A. By all account, his makeup and ability should enable a smooth transition, but skipping an entire level of minor league development is rarely advisable. Whether people like it or not, Andrew Benintendi will still have plenty to learn. The Red Sox just figure that process should happen at the Major League level.

Benintendi is likely to be in uniform tonight against the Mariners. His debut will come Wednesday, as the youngster is given time to settle. Andrew is likely to see plenty of playing time against right-handed pitching, with further opportunities arising based on his performance. He will join other young stars like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts to create a great core for the Red Sox.

“Our people kept coming up and saying, ‘We think he can play at the big league level,'” said Dombrowski. “Don’t look for him to hit in the middle of the lineup like he will eventually, but he’s a well-rounded player, he’s a good defensive player, and he runs the bases well. He has a good arm, we’ve been working him out at left field and he’s been able to play the wall well in Portland there.”

It will be fun to see how this plays out. Every young player is likely to struggle at some point, especially after jumping two whole levels in a system. But the future face of your Boston Red Sox has arrived. Andrew Benintendi has reached the Majors. It’s time to get excited.

Red Sox Fans Look Ahead to the Trade Deadline

With Memorial Day behind us, attention is slowly turning towards the trade deadline in Major League Baseball. For perhaps the first time since 2013, the Red Sox are in a strong position as the calendar flips to June, which means they should be buyers in the market, looking to add pieces for a championship run rather than selling them to assist a rebuild.

Trade deadline

Right now, Dave Dombrowski doesn’t need to worry about offense or defense. The Red Sox lead baseball in almost every offensive category, and the everyday lineup could produce some historic numbers before the season is over. Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts have taken another step forward. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are turning back the clock with tremendous performances. And even unheralded guys like Travis Shaw and Christian Vazquez have taken their turn leading this team. All around the diamond, the Red Sox are really solid with the leather, which is also fun to see.

So, we come to the one area where Boston must improve: pitching. At this point, almost everybody on the planet must know that the Red Sox lack elite rotation depth. Boston starters have a 4.57 ERA, thanks mostly to Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly. That ranks 21st in baseball, and must improve if Boston is to compete for a World Series championship.

What Can the Red Sox Give Up at the Trade Deadline?

We’ve already heard enough about potential trade targets for the Red Sox, and those discussions will intensify in the coming weeks. By the time July arrives, you will likely be tired of hearing about Sonny Gray and Julio Teheran, so it’s time to take a different approach. Let’s look not at what the Red Sox can acquire at the trade deadline, but rather what they can actually give up. Who, exactly, are their most realistic trade chips?

By hiring Dombrowski, signing David Price and acquiring Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox signaled a shift in philosophy, away from prospect conservation and toward a win-now mentality. However, we live in an age where sustainable contention is only achievable by delivering constant waves of young talent to the major league roster. Therefore, it’s still safe to assume that certain elite prospects are untouchable in trade deadline negotiations. Personally, I would include the following players in that group: Betts, Bogaerts, Yoan Moncada, and Andrew Benintendi.

Due to a very deep system, that still leaves plenty of chips with which Dombrowski can work. Down on the farm, guys like Rafael Devers, Anderson Espinoza, Brian Johnson and Michael Kopech may be expendable, although the latter three are promising pitchers in an organization starved of talent at that position. Elsewhere, fringe big leaguers like Henry Owens and Rusney Castillo may also be better utilized as trade deadline currency at this point.

Yet, at present, I think the Red Sox’ biggest trade chip is Blake Swihart. He possess a really strong bat with plenty of upside, but has struggled defensively behind the plate. Given the dearth of catching talent, many teams would overlook that deficiency in favor of his offense, but the Red Sox are in a position where their lineup is so dominant that carrying an elite defensive catcher like Christian Vazquez is preferable. That leaves Swihart without a position and, perhaps, without a future in Boston.

Ultimately, Dombrowski has many options as he attempts to tweak and improve his team. For that, he can thank Ben Cherington and – to a lesser extent – Theo Epstein, who did tremendous work stockpiling such a wide array of young talent. Now might be the time to flip some of these prospects for a true difference-maker in 2016 and beyond. With young stars blooming at the major league level, the future has finally arrived for the Red Sox. The trade deadline is an opportunity to grasp it and take full advantage.

Scout Says Yoan Moncada is Close to Mike Trout

We all know what Mike Trout can do. He is one of the most complete players in baseball right now, and the Red Sox might have the next player who can come close to him in Yoan Moncada, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan quoted one scout as saying in his All-Minor League team article.

So, yeah. Not a bad comparison to draw, and one that should get Red Sox fans excited.Yoan Moncada He got off to a slow start, but picked it up in the last 56 games with the Greenville Drive, the Red Sox Single-A affiliate. He slashed .310/.415/.500 with 45 stolen bases in 48 attempts, according to Jeff Passan, but on the flip side, he also committed 23 errors at second base, including 3 in a playoff game over the weekend.

His defense right now is a concern, but Yoan Moncada is only 20 years old, meaning there’s still plenty of time to fix that part of his game. One thing is clear, I think: Once he does clean up that area, he’ll be on the fast track to be a great major league player. Will he be as good as Mike Trout, as the one scout told Jeff Passan? Maybe not, but if he’s in that ballpark, I think Red Sox fans will be happy. Mike Trout is a special player, and if Moncada becomes even close to Trout, that’s fine with me.

Right now, there’s no reason to rush Yoan Moncada up to the big leagues. Personally, I would rather see him take an extra year or so and come up a more complete player, as opposed to him rushing up before he’s ready. There’s no doubting his talent, but I’d rather him work out all of the kinks in his game before he sees any significant action with the big-league Red Sox. Don’t get me wrong, if Jeff Passan is right, then he should be exciting to watch, but right now, he needs to work through the holes in his game, as I mentioned, before he’s ready. But, at least it’s something to get excited about for the future, right?

Matt Harvey an Option for Red Sox

Since it’s never too early to start thinking off-season trades, especially with the Red Sox out of contention for the 2015 season, here’s an idea thrown out by Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe: Xander Bogaerts for Matt Harvey. It’s an interesting option, and it should be interesting to see how many Red Sox fans will be for it. Yes, Xander is one of the best young shortstops in the game, but Matt Harvey is one of the best young pitchers in the game right now.

So, what are the pros and cons of this deal? On the positive side, Matt Harvey is a Matt Harveytalented pitcher, and he is also under contract through 2019, according to the Globe, and would be a team-friendly acquisition money-wise. Matt Harvey, in my mind, is one of the big reasons why the Mets are where they are right now, 5 games ahead of the Washington Nationals atop the NL East. He’s been that good for them.

On the flip side, the Globe points out that he can be a pain and also very cocky, but they Globe is also right in pointing out that the Red Sox have had success dealing with egos like a Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez, to an extent. You take his innings limit (which is set at 180 right now), for example. Matt Harvey has come out staunchly against being shut down with the New York Mets in the midst of a playoff race, which is understandable. I would hate the idea of being shut down as well in his position. He wants to do what he can to help his team win.

But I digress. My point is, the Red Sox could handle Matt Harvey’s sometimes-cocky attitude well because they have done it well in the past

Is the proposed Xander-for-Matt deal fair? Yes, since the Mets need offense and we need pitching, but how many fans would want to give up one of our best young players? I’m guessing not many.  Along with Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, and now Jackie Bradley Jr., many fans consider Bogaerts “untradable,” even for a talented young pitcher like Matt Harvey.

I would love to see Harvey in a Sox uniform, and they do need an ace, but there are other options that wouldn’t involve trading away one of our future stars. And the Red Sox will explore said other options as well. I don’t think Dave Dombrowksi will let the team go to Fort Myers next year without an ace.