Because we had so much fun in 2017, we wanted to go back and revisit some of our favorite moments and players from the season. As such, we'll be dishing out some honors, as well as asking our fans to chime in with their thoughts on some awards. First up: Most Valuable Player!
MVP: Michael Chavis
OK, so this one isn't really a surprise for anyone who followed the Sox this year, but Michael Chavis had a sensational half-season for Salem. Coming into 2017, scouts and prospect-watchers were down on the third baseman after he batted .237 with eight homers in 81 games between the Greenville Drive and Salem in 2016. However, Chavis had been plagued by injuries in 2015 and 2016, and he exploded onto the radar in 2017.
Things got off to an inauspicious start for Chavis, as he went 1-4 with a run, an RBI and two strikeouts on Opening Day before being added to the disabled list just four days later. When he returned on April 17, Chavis established himself as a force to be reckoned with. He ran off a six-game hitting streak immediately, including his staggering three-homer game on April 19 against Wilmington, and earned his first Carolina League Player of the Week honors shortly thereafter. After a three-game hitless stretch, Chavis returned to form, smashing two homers and driving in 10 runs over his next 10 games to carry him into a fantastic month of May. His May was a month for the ages, as he bashed 12 doubles and seven homers while batting .368 with 24 runs and 30 RBI. Chavis snagged another CL Player of the Week nod for May 22-28 (when he hit .462 with two homers and seven RBI), and capped the month with a CL Player of the Month award.
June brought frustrations for Chavis and the Sox, as he started off by hitting .313 with five homers and 13 RBI in his first 12 games, but finished the first half by going hitless in his last five games and 17 at-bats. The team as a whole went 13 for their last 124 (.105) in that stretch. Chavis got one last chance to shine for the Salem faithful, as he hit a two-run double to provide all the scoring in a 2-0 win for the Northern Division in the 2017 Carolina League All-Star Game at Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark. For his efforts, Chavis took home the Bush's All-Star Game MVP award.
The Boston Red Sox brass moved Chavis to the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs to begin the second half, and he promptly homered on the first pitch he saw at the higher level. His production sagged a bit down the stretch, but Chavis still finished the year with a combined .282 batting average along with 31 homers and 94 RBI. He finished the year as the organizational leader in RBI, and was tied with Bryce Brentz for the most homers on the year by any Sox minor leaguer. His 31 homers were tied for sixth among all minor league players; Chavis also ranked third with 68 extra-base-hits, and his 94 RBI were 11th in the minors.
More locally, Chavis became the first player ever to hit three homers in a single game at Salem Memorial Ballpark. He set new single-season and career records for homers at Salem Memorial Ballpark, racking up 12 of his 17 dingers at home. His .641 slugging percentage would have been the highest in club history if he'd met the minimum number of plate appearances to qualify. With a season for the ages in Salem in the books, it's safe to say Chavis is back on the prospect map in a big way.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.