Top '14 Draft pick Chavis relishes trip to Fenway

After rough start, infielder helped lead Gulf Coast League Sox to title

Top '14 Draft pick Chavis relishes trip to Fenway

BOSTON --- Michael Chavis took batting practice at Fenway Park on Tuesday afternoon, going through his normal habit of staying through the ball and hitting line drives at first. After a little while, though, the 26th overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft began trying to air some balls out over the Green Monster.

That was just one of the things the Red Sox's first-round pick in June got to enjoy as he spends a few days in Boston following the end of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League season, which concluded Sept. 1. Friday, he'll head to the fall instructional league in Florida.

It's common for a first-round pick to take batting practice and spend a day with his new club, but the timing didn't work out when Chavis inked his deal in June, so the parties set a date, which was Tuesday.

The 19-year-old Chavis graduated from Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Ga., this spring and struggled mightily through his first month as a professional. He hit .125/.234/.196 in July, striking out 21 times in 57 at-bats.

"I knew it would be a big adjustment, so I expected failure," Chavis said. "But I did not expect it to the degree that it happened."

In August, though, Chavis got hot as he got accustomed to the rigors of pro ball. He went 29-of-78 (.372) with 11 extra-base hits and posted a 1.020 OPS last month. He helped lead the GCL Red Sox to a title, going 3-for-15 with six RBIs in four postseason games.

"Once [failure] happened, I think I handled it well and I bounced back pretty well," Chavis said. "So I was pretty happy with the results."

"To see a guy finish as strong as he did, a positive first year for him," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Chavis played shortstop in high school, but got plenty of work at third base this summer. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound infielder is stockier than most shortstops, and says he's now most comfortable at third, but can play both in addition to second base.

"I don't really look like a shortstop, I guess you could say," Chavis said. "When you look at me, you say, 'He's a third baseman.' It's just more realistic."

Chavis will fly out of Boston on Wednesday night, go back to Georgia to pack and then head to Florida --- likely in his Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, Chavis' favorite present to himself after receiving a $1.87 million signing bonus.

While at Fenway, though, Chavis met the team and sat at a locker near David Ross, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli, picking each of their brains. Pedroia was the first to greet him.

"At first, I was at this don't speak unless spoken to aspect," Chavis said with a laugh. "But as I started talking to them, it seemed as they were almost as interested in me as much as I was interested in them."

Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.