When the Red Sox drafted Michael Chavis in the first round of the 2014 draft, everyone from general manager Ben Cherington to scouting director Amiel Sawdaye noted the high schooler's prodigious power potential.
Reaching that point has taken time, with some significant detours along the way. First, Chavis nearly flamed out, posting a sub-.700 OPS over his first three seasons. Then, after turning things around by turning on the power (31 HRs) in 2017, he was promptly busted for performance-enhancing drugs and suspended for the first 80 games of 2018.
But Chavis is still here, and on Wednesday the 23-year-old continued opening eyes by blasting his third home run of February in a 7-6 loss to the Orioles. Chavis's three-run shot off of Orioles right-hander Bo Schultz boosted his average to .444 on the spring.
"I think (power) will be a major part of my game," he told reporters in Florida. "When I was at the lower levels still learning how to play professional baseball, the power thing wasn't my main approach and it's not even that now. I was trying to learn my swing, learn how a baseball swing itself worked. That doesn't necessarily mean my specific swing, but I wanted to learn how hitting is taught. I'm a nerd when it comes to stuff."
All three of Chavis's homers have come with two runners on, which hadn't escaped his notice.
"Each one being three runs is a little weird, but I don't really think it's odd," Chavis said. "I think it just kind of preaches about how I approach the offseason, how I went about my business every day leading up to the game. I think like I say all the time I focus so much on the process that the results just come and that's really what it is. I've been focusing so much on the process leading up to the game making things boring, doing the same thing every day. Boring is better honestly."
As for his late-blooming success, the 5-foot-10, 216-pounder is relieved he figured things out.
"In regards to the power coming last, I wasn't sitting there in Greenville like, 'My power's going to come, guys, don't worry,'" he said. "I know what I'm capable of doing. I'm not out there trying to hit for power or anything like that. It's just one of those things that shows up."