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Chavis gives Red Sox a big bat in pipeline

Third baseman's maturing approach led to Arizona Fall League, Spring Training invite
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- For all the talk about the Red Sox trying to find another power hitter via free agency or a trade, it should be noted that another slugger could be making his way through the pipeline with a possible arrival at Fenway Park at some point in 2018.

Michael Chavis, ranked as Boston's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is a right-handed hitter who swings for the fences. He headlines the Red Sox Minor Leaguers who are taking part in the team's Rookie Development Program in Boston this week.

BOSTON -- For all the talk about the Red Sox trying to find another power hitter via free agency or a trade, it should be noted that another slugger could be making his way through the pipeline with a possible arrival at Fenway Park at some point in 2018.

Michael Chavis, ranked as Boston's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is a right-handed hitter who swings for the fences. He headlines the Red Sox Minor Leaguers who are taking part in the team's Rookie Development Program in Boston this week.

After a breakthrough season in the Minors last year (31 homers, 94 RBIs, .910 OPS), how close does Chavis feel he is to getting to the Major Leagues?

"I'd like to say I feel like I'm pretty close, significantly closer than I felt like I was last year," Chavis said. "Obviously that's not up to me and it's not something I really can control and say, 'Hey, I'm ready.' So that's not really something I worry too much about. Obviously it's been my life-long goal to play in the big leagues, but whenever I get that opportunity, I'm definitely going to take advantage of it."

Tweet from @RedSox: Welcome to the 2018 Rookie Development Program!Bringing a little baseball to your life on this Wednesday morning: pic.twitter.com/kS3NDVuRRt

Chavis isn't the only one who feels like he's close.

"He's put himself on the Major League radar having some success in the Double-A level and the Arizona Fall League," said Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett. "I think coming into this year, we're just looking for him to pick up where he left off at the end of the season and really just be as consistent as he can offensively and defensively with his exposure to both first base and third base."

Chavis has mainly been a third baseman since the Red Sox took him in the first round of the 2014 Draft, but he demonstrated he could also play first base in the Arizona Fall League.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Chavis, 3B, Red Sox

"Reports were really good," said Crockett. "Darren Fenster, our coach there, was working with him daily, and even hearing from scouts from outside the organization, it was all really positive. That transition isn't always as easy as people think it might be. I think there's a lot that goes into the footwork around the bag, understanding responsibilities at a new position. He took to it really easily actually."

The fact that Chavis can play first could be particularly beneficial for future roster construction when you consider the Red Sox just broke in a top prospect at the hot corner last year in Rafael Devers.

Crockett said Chavis will continue to play both corners in 2018.

Earlier this week, Chavis was thrilled to hear that he will be a non-roster invitee for the Red Sox at Spring Training.

"I was actually eating lunch and I got called into the office," said Chavis. "I found out I was invited to camp and I was thrilled. It was one of my goals I set before this past season was to be invited to Arizona Fall League and also be invited to big league camp after the season, so having accomplished both of those, it was a big moment yesterday finding out. I told everybody, I told my family and everybody was really excited."

Video: Chavis on his goal of playing in the Fall League

The biggest area of development the Red Sox saw from Chavis last year was the mental side of hitting, which is often a separator.

"Yeah, incredible year for Michael [last year]," said Crockett. "He really took some big steps forward. His offensive approach really matured and I think that's first and foremost. There weren't major mechanical changes that were made. It was really him kind of understanding who he is as a hitter and understanding what makes him successful.

"Looking for the right pitches to hit, and being able to lay off and recognize pitches that he can't do as much damage with. And really start to understand what pitchers are trying to do to him. He's used some different methods to help him filter his performance, whether that's thinking about at-bat to at-bat, looking back on what he did well and what he didn't and being able to move on."

The confidence Chavis has now is what he lacked in his second pro season in 2015, when he slashed .223/.277/.405 with 144 strikeouts in 435 at-bats for Class-A Greenville.

Video: Red Sox's Chavis hits walk-off homer in Fall League

"It's not the easiest thing. If it was easy, guys would just do it off the bat," Chavis said. "One of the things coming from high school, there wasn't much failure. So coming into pro ball, it was something I had to try to learn to try to handle the failure, whether it was a little small portion where it was like a bad day, a bad week or a bad series. But being able to learn how to cope with that, being able to grow from it or being able to flush it and start over the next day was something I had to learn and that was something that helped me stay more consistent.

"Sometimes the pitcher has a good day. Sometimes you just have a bad day. It was being able to learn that a bad day doesn't mean there's something wrong. It's just being able to know myself as a player and know my swing."

That swing could be arriving at Fenway Park in the not-too-distant future.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox