SALEM (June 12, 2017) - The Salem Red Sox will have strong representation at the 2017 Carolina League All-Star Game, with five players joining their coaching staff as part of the Northern Division roster for the festivities at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark on June 19 and 20.
Sluggers Michael Chavis and Josh Ockimey, hot-hitting middle infielder Chad De La Guerra, league-leading lefty starter Dedgar Jimenez and sidewinding relief ace Trevor Kelley make up the player contingent of Salem's delegation. Manager Joe Oliver, pitching coach Paul Abbott, strength coach Gregory Bourn, and athletic trainer Nick Kuchwara comprise the field staff for the Northern Division team.
Chavis, 21, absolutely mauled the league in May to earn Carolina League Player of the Month honors; the 21-year-old batted an astounding .368 with seven homers and 30 RBI in 29 games. He also recorded 12 doubles, a triple, 24 runs scored, and struck out only 28 times in 114 at-bats. Chavis wasn't just compiling counting stats, either, as he posted Ruthian marks in on-base percentage (.425) and slugging percentage (.675). On the season, Chavis rules the Carolina League leaderboards, with league-best marks in batting average (.335), home runs (16), RBI (54), extra-base hits (35) and slugging percentage (.675). He ranks second in runs scored (47, trailing only teammate Tate Matheny's 48) and total bases (137). Chavis is also fourth in on-base percentage (.404), hits (68) and doubles (17). He has three multi-homer games this season, including a three-homer performance that was the fourth in Red Sox history and the first by any player at Salem Memorial Ballpark since its debut in 1995. His two homers on June 4 gave him 14 for the season, and 11 at home, which sets another new record for Salem Memorial Ballpark. Chavis was previously named Carolina League Player of the Week for the weeks of April 18-24 and May 22-28. His 16 homers are tied with Travis Shaw's 2012 campaign for the most by any Sox player since Bryce Brentz belted 19 homers in 2011, the Red Sox-era record in Salem. Chavis is the first Salem player to win Carolina League Player of the Month since Michael Kopech did it in August 2016. He was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round (26th overall) of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft from Sprayberry Senior High School in Marietta, Georgia.
Ockimey has overwhelmed Carolina League pitchers all season long. The 21-year-old first baseman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania batted .447 with a .521 on-base percentage and .658 slugging percentage in his first ten games en route to being named the first CL Player of the Week for the year. In going 17-for-38 to start the year, he cracked three doubles, a triple, and a three-run, opposite-field homer. He also scored eight runs, amassed eight runs batted in, and drew eight walks. Ockimey ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.302, 9th), games played (60, t-3rd), RBI (50, 2nd), on-base percentage (.406, 3rd) and walks (37, 4th). He leads the league in sacrifice flies (6) and intentional walks (4). Earlier this season, Ockimey posted a career-best 18-game hitting streak from May 15 through June 3. His line for the season stands at a .302 batting average with seven homers and 50 RBI.
Ockimey, 21, spent the entire 2016 season with the low-A Greenville Drive, batting .226 with 62 RBI and 18 homers (fourth-most among Red Sox minor leaguers). His 88 walks drawn led the South Atlantic League. He was named a midseason All-Star in the SAL, and led Greenville in homers, walks, games played (117) and doubles (25). In 2015, Ockimey was a New York-Penn League midseason All-Star, and tied for fourth in the NYPL with 38 RBI. He led the Lowell Spinners in RBI, and batted .266 with four homers and 13 doubles in 56 games. Ockimey made his professional debut in 2014 for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, playing in 36 GCL games. Ockimey attended SS. Neumann & Goretti Catholic (PA) High School, where his uniform number (30) was retired. As a senior, he hit .411 with 13 HR and 100 RBI in H.S., and led the school to three Catholic League titles. He was named CL Blue Division MVP as a senior, and was committed to play for Indiana University before signing with the Red Sox, who drafted him in the fifth round (164th overall) of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft.
De La Guerra, 24, has been a mainstay of the Salem lineup all season long, playing at either middle infield spot as needed to fill in the lineup. A natural second baseman, De La Guerra has spent more time at shortstop this season, and has hit no matter where he plays. He has found his way onto the leaderboards for batting average (.318, 5th) and runs scored (47, t-2nd). De La Guerra posted a nine-game hitting streak from May 13 to May 22, and currently is batting .318 with five homers and 36 RBI after falling just a triple short of the cycle against the Winston-Salem Dash on Sunday.
A 17th-round pick out of Grand Canyon (AZ) University in 2015, De La Guerra spent 2016 with the Greenville Drive, batting .250 with a homer and 20 RBI across 66 games. In 2015, he made his professional debut and spent the entire season with Short-Season Lowell Spinners, and was named a New York-Penn League mid-season All-Star. De La Guerra led the Spinners in hits (59) and ranked among team leaders in games (2nd, 58), runs (T- 3rd, 28), doubles (2nd, 14), triples (T-2nd, 3), RBI (2nd, 29), and total bases (2nd, 85). He was a two-time All-WAC First Team selection at GCU, and was a member of the junior college 2013 Southern California All-American Team and All-Western State Conference South Division First Team selection for College of the Canyons. He hails from Santa Maria, California.
Jimenez won his first three starts of the year for the Sox, and hasn't slowed down much other than a couple of rough starts near the end of April and be\ginning of May. The 21-year-old Venezuelan lefty gave up 11 earned runs in those two starts to see his ERA balloon three runs to 6.38. In his seven subsequent starts, however, Jimenez has gone 5-0 (including wins in each of his last four starts) with a stellar 1.37 ERA in 39.1 innings pitched. His eight wins are the most in the Carolina League, and he's coming off a lights-out performance against the Winston-Salem Dash on Sunday, in which he allowed one run on two hits and two walks over six innings of action. Jimenez has 64 strikeouts against just 19 walks in 63.1 innings pitched, and is fifth in the league in strikeouts. He is now 8-1 with a 3.27 ERA
In 2016, Jimenez split time between Single-A Greenville (17 GS) and Salem (9 GS) to go 8-10 with a 5.20 ERA (79 ER/136.2 IP). He ranked among Drive leaders in wins (3rd, 6), innings pitched (3rd, 97.0), strikeouts (3rd, 81), and starts (T-3rd, 17). Jimenez threw at least 6.0 innings in 13 of his 26 starts, and tossed the Drive's lone complete game of the season 7/25/16 at Asheville. He struck out a career-high eight batters 7/3/16 vs. Asheville. In 2015, Jimenez starred for the Drive, posting the second-lowest BB/9 among South Atlantic League starters (1.50)and tyingfor the Drive lead with nine wins. Jimenez was named the 2013 and 2014 Red Sox Latin Program Pitcher of the Year for his performances in the Dominican Summer League. He is a native of Acarigua, Venezuela.
Kelley, 23, has been an unflappable presence at the back of the Red Sox bullpen throughout the season. The righty from the University of North Carolina didn't allow a run until his 10th outing of the season, going on a 12.2-inning tear before Potomac got to him on May 13. For the season, Kelley is 1-0 with five saves and a 1.69 ERA in 26.2 innings, fanning 25 against just six walks. He's been especially outstanding when it counts for the Sox, with no runs allowed in the ninth inning or extra frames. Opposing hitters are batting just .207 against Kelley, and that shrinks to a microscopic .143 with runners in scoring position. He's third in the league in games finished (17), and he has the third-lowest ratio of baserunners per nine innings (26.2). His season line stands at 1-0 with five saves and a 1.69 ERA in 18 games.
In 2016, Kelley posted a 1.83 ERA (8 ER/39.1 IP) between Low-A Greenville (21 G) and Salem (1 G), and held righty batters to a .170 AVG (16-for-94). He struck out at least one batter in 20 of his 22 outings, and made eight straight scoreless appearances from July 20 to August 11 (9.2 IP). Kelley made his pro debut in 2015, combining with the GCL Red Sox and Short-A Lowell to post a 3.60 ERA (10 ER/25.0 IP) in 18 appearances while he averaged 10.1 SO/9 IP. The righty played four seasons at the university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Exercise and Sport Science. In 2015, he appeared for the Orleans Firebirds of the summer collegiate Cape Cod League. Kelley appeared in 41 games as a senior in 2015, going 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA for the Diamond Heels. He is a graduate of Ashley (NC) High School.
Oliver is in his fourth year on a professional coaching staff, all with the Red Sox organization. The former catcher was a member of the 1990 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds club, and finished his 13-year Major League Baseball playing career with Boston in 2001. Oliver began his managerial path with the short-season Lowell Spinners over the 2014 and 2015 seasons before taking the helm in Salem before the 2016 season. He led the Red Sox to a Carolina League-best 87-53 record and a playoff berth in 2016. Oliver makes his offseason home in Orlando, Florida, where he coached baseball at Pine Castle Christian Academy, Bishop Moore Catholic High School and Boone High School between 2002 and 2013.
Abbott is in his third season as Salem's pitching coach and his seventh coaching season in the Boston organization. Over his first two seasons as Salem's pitching coach, the Red Sox posted a combined ERA of 3.89, down from 4.09 in 2014. Abbott played 20 seasons of professional baseball, with 11 MLB seasons between six different organizations. He notched 17 wins as a Seattle Mariner in 2001. Abbott started his coaching career with the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden League in 2009 as their pitching coach, serving as their manager in 2010. He joined the Red Sox organization in 2011 as pitching coach for the Spinners, and was moved up to the Intermediate-A Greenville Drive before the 2013 season.
Nick Kuchwara is in his second season with Salem. He was the trainer for Lowell in 2015 after having previously worked in the same capacity in Portland and Pawtucket. This is his fourth season in the Red Sox system.
Salem strength coach Gregory Bourn is in his second year in the Boston system. The 24-year-old got his first taste of strength and conditioning while interning at Zero to Sixty Sports Performance in Pearland, Texas. He's also interned at Miami (OH) University and with the Houston Astros at the MLB level. After graduating from Miami, Gregory got his first post-collegiate job as strength coach with the Williamsport Crosscutters (short-season, Phillies).
The Carolina League All-Star Game returns to Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark on Tuesday, June 20. As part of a celebration of 50 years of Carolina League baseball in the Roanoke Valley, the Red Sox will host a skills competition on Monday, June 19. The skills competition will take place at historic Kiwanis Field, the original home of Carolina League baseball in Salem. Tickets are on sale now at the Haley Toyota Field box office or online at SalemSox.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.