Domino Effect: How The Rise Of Michael Chavis Could Accelerate Rafael Devers Arrival

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Boston Red Sox currently have a void at third base, as they try to piece things together with a rag tag group of misfits.  Just look at the names and production from the players that has combined to slash .203/.258/.329 through Sunday:

  • Pablo Sandoval (80 AB) – .188/.233/.363
  • Deven Marrero (71 AB) – .155/.200/.310
  • Josh Rutledge (40 AB) – .325/.426/.325
  • Marco Hernandez (27 AB) – .222/.222/.333
  • Brock Holt (3 AB) – .000/.250/.000
  • Steve Selsky (1 AB) – .000/.000/.000

At least, for the team’s sake, the future looks much brighter than the current situation and a domino effect could lead to an infusion of talent before long.

 

Does Michael Chavis Warrant A Promotion?
After playing in 7 games at High-A last season, Chavis opened the year at High-A and has raked over his first 53 games.  All he’s done is hit .335 with 16 HR (as well as 17 doubles and 2 triples) with 54 RBI and 47 R.  More importantly he’s continued to improve his strikeout rate, which has always been the biggest question hanging over him:

  • Single-A (2015) – 30.6%
  • Single-A (2016) – 23.7%
  • High-A (2017) – 21.1% (through Saturday)

As Prospect 361 stated prior to the season in regards to Chavis:

“He has plus bat speed and plus raw power that I still believe will develop into something.  What has been holding him back is his ability to make contact.”

It’s possible that the Red Sox want to see a little bit more, which makes sense given his previous struggles with strikeouts.  It’s not like he’s mastered putting the bat on the ball, as he currently owns a 15.3% SwStr%.  That number would support a significantly higher strikeout rate, so time will tell.  That said it may not be much longer, especially if he keeps hitting, before the Red Sox opt to push him to Double-A.  If that were to happen, the next question would be…

 

What Happens to Rafael Devers?
The most logical solution would be to simply push Devers to Triple-A, and let him get a little experience at the highest level of the minors.  However, as we’ve said before, the Red Sox have a track record of being aggressive with their promotions.  Look no further than 2016, when they promoted Andrew Benintendi from Double-A directly to the Majors.

Devers is doing his best to make the decision easy, hitting .307 with 10 HR (as well as 15 doubles and 1 triple), 38 RBI and 32 R over 54 games.  For his part Devers has shown a better strikeout rate (17.9%) and an ability to make more consistent contact (11.6% SwStr%) than Chavis has.  Would he benefit from time at Triple-A?  Most likely, but Boston has a need and a potential answer so why trade away an asset instead of seeing what Devers can do?

 

Conclusion
This is going to be a balancing act for Boston and any one of three things can change the timeframe of the promotions:

  1. Is Chavis ready for Double-A?
  2. Is Devers ready for a promotion?
  3. When will Boston finally decide they need a new option at 3B?

Regardless of which one comes first, there will be a significant impact on two of their top prospects.  Either way, look for Devers to reach the big leagues at some point in the not too distant future (especially if they want to make sure they don’t need to add a 3B at the trade deadline).

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Prospect 361

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