Following a strong showing after being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates utility man Michael Chavis made a push for playing time in the 2022 season
As Major League Baseball closed in on the 4:0 PM EST traded deadline on July 30th the Pittsburgh Pirates swung a pair of last second trades. One of these two trades saw the Pirates swing a deal with the Boston Red Sox.
In this trade the Pittsburgh Pirates traded let-handed reliever Austin Davis to the Sox in exchange for a former first-round pick. This former first-round pick is first baseman turned utility man Michael Chavis.
After the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Chavis the 26-year-old hitter expressed excitement over the trade. This was due to being reunited with Ben Cherington who selected Chavis in the first-round of the 2014 draft when he was general manager of the Red Sox, as well as being with an organization where Chavis viewed himself as being wanted and valued.
After initially starting his Pirate career with Triple-A Indianapolis, Chavis made his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 23rd. While the time Chavis was able to send with the big club was shortened due to an elbow injury, he did accumulate 42 plate appearances with the Pirates. In these 42 PAs Chavis did nothing but hit the ball and make a push for playing time in 2022.
Chavis hit for a .357/.357/.500 slash line to go with a 130 wRC+ in these 42 PAs. The right-handed hitter had an isolated slugging (ISO) of .143, he collected extra base hits at a 9.5% rate and, while he did not draw a walk, he struck out just 10 times.
While Chavis benefited from a batting average on balls in play of .452, it was partially due to the way he hit the ball. With the Pirates Chavis had an average exit velocity of 91.0 MPH which was nearly 3 MPH higher than MLB average. His 28.1% hard hit rate and 25.0% line drive rate were both better than league average as well.
Due to his BAbip Chavis would be due for some regression in 2022. That said, with how hard he hit the ball while with the Pirates it sets him up to be able to continue have success in 2022. If Chavis can continue to hit the ball hard in 2022 the way he did with the Pirates in 2021 then he can continue to find success at the plate.
Chavis can play first base, second base, third base and the corner outfield spots. This should make getting him into the lineup in 2022. Between his results at the plate and the way he hit the ball Chavis has earned entering spring training with a chance to compete for regular playing time/at-bats in the 2022 season.
With his first-round draft pedigree and ability at the plate landing Chavis for a bad reliever could prove to be a steal for Cherington and the Pirates. How Chavis performs in 2022 will go a long way toward determining if he is able to do this or not.