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.

Mookie Betts’ Attitude As Good As His Play

mookie betts

As each Spring Training game passes, Mookie Betts is leaving little doubt in anyone’s mind that he should be the Red Sox’ starting center fielder come April 6th.

Betts contributed another impressive performance on Monday, going 2-3 with a double, triple, and a run scored against the New York Mets at JetBlue Park in Ft. Myers, FLMookie Betts. In seven Spring Training games thus far, Betts is hitting an astounding .435/.435/.739, good for a 1.174 OPS.

Equally as impressive as his on-the-field performance, has been his attitude and the way he conducts himself off of it.

Betts began last season on a hot streak as the Portland Sea Dogs’ second baseman, but with the Red Sox middle infield seemingly full for years to come, the Red Sox had Betts begin to transition to center field, where they could take advantage of his immense talent.

“It’s had its ups and downs,” Betts said in an interview with Ron Borges of BostonHerald.com. “It definitely hasn’t been as easy as I thought. You’ve got a lot of ground to cover and you have to move around with each hitter and with different counts. There’s so much involved getting ready for each pitch.”

“When the first fly came out it was like ‘Oh bleep.’ That’s pretty much exactly how I felt. But after I got the first couple under my belt I felt comfortable.”

Although the transition has not come without its difficulties, Betts seems willing to do whatever it takes to earn a spot on the big league roster.

“The only thing I can do now is fulfill what they need,” Betts shared with Borges. “I 100 percent look at it like they think I’m a good enough athlete to do it, not like they don’t think I can play the infield. Plus, we got a guy at second base who’s pretty good so I couldn’t play there.”

“My dream wasn’t to play second base. The dream is to make it to the big leagues. I can’t say it didn’t happen as I wanted because I’m in the big leagues.”

With an incredible amount of talent and potential on-the-field, and the maturity and wisdom that makes him seem wise beyond his years, Mookie Betts seems ready to take the MLB by storm. If his spring is any indication of what’s to come for the 22-year old Nashville, TN native, we might be seeing a perennial All-Star at Fenway Park for years to come.