Inside the Mind of Michael Chavis on His Way to Boston

Michael Chavis, Photo Credit: Louriann Mardo-Zayat

One day, you’re in Pawtucket and hitting tape measure home runs. Next thing you know, you’re being tapped on the shoulder. The major leagues are beckoning.

Welcome to Michael Chavis’ world, one that stared the power-hitting prospect right in the face. In a 48-hour span last week, Chavis went from “property of the Pawtucket Red Sox” to his MLB debut with the parent club Boston Red Sox. The 23-year-old added to the intrigue surrounding him by belting three home runs during Pawtucket’s first homestand of the 2019 season.

Those three home runs traveled a combined 1,371 feet and put those with cars parked behind the left-field fence at McCoy Stadium on very high alert. One of those prodigious blasts came after last Wednesday’s come-from-behind 11-8 win by Pawtucket over Buffalo (the PawSox trailed 7-0 before coming to bat for the first time).

Before packing his bags for what he originally thought was a weekend series in Syracuse, then being told to join the BoSox in Tampa Bay, I caught up with Chavis for a rapid-fire Q&A …

Brendan McGair: What’s going through your mind when you’re faced with a 3-0 count and you know the pitcher must throw a strike or risk walking you? (Note: when Chavis went deep in the seventh inning last Wednesday, he turned loose on a 3-0 count)

Michael Chavis: I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. I was just trying to catch barrel and it just happened to be a homer. That’s clutch and everything like that, but it was more a team thing than anything. (Tzu-Wei) Lin had a big hit in the eighth and the bullpen came out and shoved.

Michael Chavis, Photo Credit: Louriann Mardo-Zayat

BM: They’re using official Major League baseballs in Triple-A this season. Do you believe that’s played a part in why your home runs have traveled great distances?

MC: This is my first time in Pawtucket during April. Two years ago when I was in (Class A) Salem, the ball didn’t fly there. At the end of the day, we have guys like (Bryce) Brentz, (Josh) Ockimey and (Sam) Travis. If they catch barrel, it’s going to go. The balls may help a little bit.

BM: You came into the season as the top prospect as far as PawSox position players are concerned. How do you deal with being in the moment while looking at the future?

MC: When I was in (Single-A) Greenville, I got so caught up that it made me overthink things … trying to do too much out there. It wasn’t good for me. Now, I’m big on the mental aspect, especially with what I can control. If I think I’m ready, they may say ‘no.’ No matter what I do or think, it really doesn’t matter {and isn’t} something I should concern myself with.

BM: But you can certainly state your case with your play, correct?

MC: I know if I take care of business, I know God has a plan. Everything else is out of my hands. I know if I keep performing, and kind of force the topic a little bit, maybe I can speed it up. Hopefully the call comes but I’m not going to be like ‘Hey (PawSox manager Billy McMillon).’

BM: From strictly a news standpoint, how closely do you keep tabs on the Red Sox during the season?

MC: The Red Sox game is always on in the clubhouse. You need to be aware of what’s going on up top so that in the event one of us goes up, we aren’t walking [in the Red Sox clubhouse] and saying, ‘Hey guys, I’m here to swing.’ You’ve got to have a plan and be aware.

Michael Chavis, Photo Credit: Louriann Mardo-Zayat

BM: What did you take away from your first big-league camp during this year’s spring training?

MC: There are so many talented players on the Red Sox but they’re all different in terms of how they approach things. Just getting to pick their brains and see how they go about their business every single day … from the knowledge aspect, it was huge. One thing that I saw last year is how close knit that group in Boston is. That’s one of the reasons why they had the success they did.

BM: You now have a handful of games at second base under your belt after coming up through the minors as primarily a third baseman. How comfortable are you with your new infield surroundings? (Note: Chavis played five games at 2B for the PawSox prior to getting called up)

MC: Where I am right now compared to where I was when I first started playing second base during spring training … the first day I was out there, I didn’t know where to stand. Now, I don’t have to worry every two seconds to make sure I’m in the right spot. I’m definitely getting more comfortable and that’s allowed me to be more athletic and free.

BM: What was it like working with Dustin Pedroia during spring training, a player you looked up to while growing up?

MC: One day, I was taking groundballs at third and turning double plays with Pedey. He talked to me about making sure my throws were on line to him so he can handle it and do what he needs to do. I took that opportunity to speak to him about what I would need to do if I was at second base. To learn from him, it was a special moment for sure.

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