Chavis continues his education with Javelinas

No. 2 Red Sox prospect building on his breakout season in Arizona

Michael Chavis finished tied for third in the Minor Leagues with 31 home runs and 10th with 94 RBIs in 2017. (I.B. Lee/

By Alex Kraft / | October 18, 2017 10:30 AM ET

The moment Michael Chavis learned he was headed to the Arizona Fall League, he reached out to everyone he could think of.

"I talked to everybody on the staff," Boston's second-ranked prospect said. "I talked to [Red Sox Minor League] hitting coordinator Greg Norton. I talked to my manager, [Double-A Portland skipper Carlos] Febles. I talked to one of my friends, Trey Ball, who came out here last year. Pretty much anybody who had some information about it."

The general consensus: Have fun, but be ready to face a lot of hard-throwing arms.

"And I'll tell you what, everybody does throw hard," Chavis said with a laugh.

Coming off his best offensive season as a professional, the 22-year-old is better equipped than ever to square off against some of the Minor Leagues' top pitching talent. While splitting the regular season between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland, he slammed 31 home runs -- six more than he hit in his first three pro seasons combined -- to go along with 94 RBIs in a career-high 126 games.

Video: Portland's Chavis ties game with solo homer

His breakout involved more than just the power surge. After never hitting higher than .237 in a full-season circuit, the 26th overall pick in the 2014 Draft put together a .282/.347/.563 slash line with an OPS (.910) that dwarfed his previous career high by 138 points.

Entering the season, Chavis said he never altered anything physically. He didn't meddle with his mechanics or his routine. Rather, he simply grew up.

"When I was younger and in years before, I would go out there and try and hit home runs, and for me that's just not something that works out too well," he said. "I get long with my swing, I over swing.

"Part of it was me learning how my swing works and how my body works. When I say I would like to hit a home run or something like that, now I know how to go about doing it where I don't just over-swing, where I have a plan."

Offseason MiLB include

The Georgia native ensured that even his batting practice sessions were carefully plotted out.

"During BP every day I didn't go out there just trying to hit as many home runs as possible or show off my power," he said. "It sounds stupid because you think it would be common sense, but I treated BP as preparation for the game. In my swings and in every round, I had a plan and I had a goal."

Improving as a hitter has become a constant process for Chavis, and he's brought that meticulousness to the Arizona Fall League. He loves talking about hitting with anyone who will listen, as Blue Jays prospect and Peoria Javelinas teammate J.D. Davis recently found out. The two were working in the same batting cage one day when they recognized each other from having faced off in the Eastern League during the regular season.

"We talked for about an hour and a half, just about hitting," Chavis said.

In fact, playing for Peoria is providing him ready access to a treasure trove of highly talented hitters. The AFL's most stacked lineup features four Top 100 prospects -- Chavis (No. 92), the Braves' Ronald Acuna (No. 5), the Mariners' Kyle Lewis (No. 41) and the Padres' Luis Urias (No. 48). The Sprayberry High School product likened the experience to his time with Class A Greenville in 2015, when he shared a lineup with current Red Sox mainstays Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers as well as former No. 1 overall prospect Yoan Moncada.

Hitting primarily in the third spot in the order, the 210-pound third baseman has gotten off to a fast start. Through five games with the Javelinas, he has hit .391 (9-for-23) with three doubles and a pair of RBIs. At this point, Chavis said such success has become his expectation.

"In my opinion -- and everyone has their own opinion -- that was the hitter I've always been and it was just learning how to get to that point," he said. "In my experience, I've always known what I was capable of doing, and I know what I'm capable of doing in the future. It's just a matter of learning and having a focus where I make sure I do it."

Alex Kraft is a contributor to Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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