Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 Outlook: Opportunity for Michael Chavis
By Marty Leap
Whatever role he plays Michael Chavis should have the opportunity to make an impact with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2022
The Pittsburgh Pirates were busy at the trade deadline last July. One of the players they acquired was utility man Michael Chavis. The right-handed hitting Chavis was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for left-handed reliever Austin Davis.
On the surface this trade looked like one that had a lot of potential for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Chavis is a former first-round pick who had posted strong numbers in the past, and he was acquired for a struggling reliever in Davis.
When Chavis was selected in the first-round of the MLB Draft it was as the 26th overall pick in the 2014 draft. When the Red Sox selected Chavis their general manager was current Pirate general manager Ben Cherington.
It is obvious that Cherington is high in Chavis and that he has been for quite some time. Cherington and his scouts see the potential in Chavis to be a quality MLB player. In 2022, opportunity should present itself for Chavis.
Chavis started his MLB career by posting a 96 wRC+, .254/.322/.444 slash line, and an isolated slugging (ISO) of .190 in 382 plate appearances across 95 games with Boston in 2019. He hit 18 home runs and drew walks at an 8.1% clip.
After struggling in 2020 and getting off to a slow start in 2021, the Red Sox moved on from Chavis. With the Pittsburgh Pirates, however, Chavis posted strong numbers down the stretch last season.
In 42 PAs with the Pirates Chavis hit for a .357/.357/.500 slash line. He posted a strong 130 wRC+, collected four extra base hits to give him an extra base hit rate of 9.5%, and he posted an ISO of .153.
Had it not been for an elbow injury that led to an injured list stint for part of September, Chavis would have collected even more PAs with the Pirates. With this extended look Chavis could have really put a down payment on an Opening Day roster spot for this season. Regardless, he should still have the opportunity to make an impact this season.
Looking ahead to 2020 there are multiple pathways to opportunity for Chavis. The Pittsburgh Pirates have question marks at second base, right field and left field, all of which are positions Chavis can play. Assuming Yoshi Tsutsugo is the team’s designated hitter, if another first baseman is not added then Chavis is the likely favorite to get the majority of the at-bats at first base. If Tsutsugo is still at first base instead of serving as the DH, then Chavis could earn ABs at DH as well.
With at-bats to be had at multiple positions that Chavis can play there will be plenty of opportunity for him in 2022. The key will be his bat. If he can hit well for the Pirates then manager Derek Shelton will find ways to get him into the lineup. This should provide Chavis with the opportunity needed to solidify himself as MLB regular.