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Chavis ranks No. 4 on top 3B prospect list

2014 first-round pick coming off breakthrough '17 season in Minors
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- Coming off a breakthrough season in the Minor Leagues, Red Sox corner infielder Michael Chavis is getting some deserved recognition heading into 2018.

The latest is his No. 4 ranking among third-base prospects by MLB Pipeline. He was also informed last week that he'll be a Major League invite to Spring Training for the first time in his career. Chavis is ranked Boston's No. 2 prospect by Pipeline.

BOSTON -- Coming off a breakthrough season in the Minor Leagues, Red Sox corner infielder Michael Chavis is getting some deserved recognition heading into 2018.

The latest is his No. 4 ranking among third-base prospects by MLB Pipeline. He was also informed last week that he'll be a Major League invite to Spring Training for the first time in his career. Chavis is ranked Boston's No. 2 prospect by Pipeline.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

While recognition like that proves to Chavis how far he's come, he's determined to not take his foot off the gas pedal.

"There is some pride there," said Chavis. "But that's something I try not to concern myself with too much. I've never heard of someone being, say, the number one prospect, and [the team] being like, 'Well, he's the number one prospect, let's call him up.' That's not really something I try to concern myself with. It's definitely something that's notable and it's an accomplishment.

"But in regards to a confidence booster or a major key, I don't really concern myself with it too much. It's definitely nice to know, and I guess it makes you feel a little better, but it's not a major thing for me."

Video: Chavis, Crockett on big league chances, progress

The big thing for Chavis is to build off last year, when he posted a .282/.347/.563 slash line with 31 homers and 94 RBIs across two levels. It was quite a step up from his struggles of '15-16, when it looked like he might have a hard time living up to his status as a first-round Draft pick in 2014.

"I definitely feel more confident, having the success I had last year," said Chavis. "It's definitely something I want to base this season off of. I want to hit the ground running. The previous years before last year, I kind of had some ups and downs. I had some times of success, I had some times of struggles, but I didn't have the consistency that I wanted.

"I feel like last year I figured myself out as a player, I grew up a lot, I matured a lot as a player and a person, and I think that helped me out on the field. This season, I'm looking forward to growing even more as a player and a person. There's still a lot to learn."

One thing Chavis is learning is a new position. To increase his versatility, the Red Sox had him play some first base in the Arizona Fall League. As Kevin Youkilis demonstrated for Boston from 2004-12, the ability to play both corners can be extremely valuable to a team.

And with third baseman Rafael Devers breaking through in impressive fashion for the Red Sox last year, Chavis might be able to get to the Major Leagues quicker by playing first base.

"It was definitely an easier transition than shortstop to third base," said Chavis. "Both of them are on the corners, so the angles off the bat and in-game reads are pretty similar. The transition was definitely a little bit easier, but a lot of it is just getting the in-game reps and getting more comfortable. I don't know the exact amount of games I played in Arizona at first base, but I played a decent amount."

As nice as it is for Chavis to be able to play multiple positions, his calling card is his bat. Chavis has always had power. But he is now learning to maximize it.

"He really took some big steps forward," said Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett. "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."

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

Boston Red Sox, Michael Chavis