SoxProspects News

June 22, 2017 at 10:47 AM

Confirmed: Chavis, De La Guerra promoted to Portland


SoxProspects.com has confirmed through sources that the Red Sox are promoting third baseman Michael Chavis (pictured, right) and middle infielder Chad De La Guerra from High A Salem to Double-A Portland. The news was also tweeted by a teammate while we were seeking confirmation.

Update: When announcing these transactions on Thursday morning, the Salem Red Sox announced that right-handed pitcher Stephen Nogosek and infielder Nick Lovullo will be coming up from Greenville to fill the vacated roster spots. More on these players below.

Chavis, currently ranked seventh in the SoxProspects rankings, and De La Guerra, who recently made his debut at number 60 in the rankings, played in Tuesday night's Carolina League All-Star Game, which was hosted by Salem. Both are in the midst of breakout seasons.

Chavis, the Red Sox first selection in the 2014 draft at number 26 overall, has easily been the system's best hitter over the first half of this season. After struggling some in his first full season with Greenville in 2015 and suffering through an injury-marred 2016, he has been a revelation in Salem this year, hitting .318/.388/.641 with 17 home runs while playing in a ballpark notorious for depressing home run power. Chavis has already set the single-season record at Lewis-Gale Field with 12 home runs, a stunning number considering that the Salem club hit 18 home runs combined at home in 2016.

Chavis closed his time in Salem with an MVP performance at home in Tuesday's All-Star exhibition, in which he drove in the only two runs of the game with a first-inning double, then made a spectacular diving stop of an Eloy Jimenez ground ball in the eighth.

Chavis' season got off to a slow start due to injury, as elbow inflammation limited him during spring training and allowed him to play just one game through April 16. After returning from the disabled list, he was limited to DH duty through 15 games before slowly working his way back onto the field. Indeed, defense has been Chavis' biggest question mark this season, which he acknowledged in a recent interview with Aaron McFarling of the Roanoke Times. He has recorded 11 errors in 27 games at third this season, posting an .853 fielding percentage. However, Portland manager Carlos Febles is highly regarded within the organization as an infield instructor, a boon to Chavis' continued work at the hot corner.

The elephant in the room, of course, is whether Chavis' promotion portends a similar move with the system's top prospect, Rafael Devers, with whom Chavis shares a position. Although certainly possible—and with Portland off on Thursday, news of such a move may be hard to come by—Chavis and Devers were teammates for the entirety of 2015, showing that the organization would probably be amenable to the two splitting time between third base and designated hitter for a short time if the club feels Devers still needs more time before a promotion to Pawtucket. That said, we will continue to monitor this situation.

De La Guerra (pictured, left) was mostly an afterthought as a 17th-round pick after his senior season at Grand Canyon University (whose most notable baseball alumni is Tim Salmon) in the 2015 draft. But De La Guerra has played his way onto the radar with a strong 2017 campaign, hitting .294/.368/.463 with five home runs and earning a starting nod in Tuesday's All-Star Game where he hit the game's only other extra-base hit, a double. Primarily a second baseman for his first year and a half in the system, he has played shortstop in three-quarters of his games this year, even continuing to split time at the position after the return of slick-fielding Jeremy Rivera from suspension at the end of May. It will be interesting to see how the Sea Dogs deploy De La Guerra, with Josh Tobias and Tzu-Wei Lin the starters at second and short, respectively, and also needing at-bats.

Nogosek, a sixth-round draft pick out of Oregon in 2016, has recorded 13 saves as the Drive's closer in 2017. A rarity in the Red Sox system in that he is a prospect being used in a true, MLB-style relief role, he has 45 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 35 1/3 innings, posting a 2.55 ERA. He is poised to potentially continue moving quickly through the system in a relief role.

Lovullo, the son of current Diamondbacks manager and former Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, will be in his second stint with Salem this year. He has hit well with Greenville, posting a .329/.441/.447 line, but struggled against Carolina League pitching to a .243/.325/.311 line.

Photo credit: Michael Chavis and Chad De La Guerra by Kelly O'Connor

Chris Hatfield is Executive Editor of SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPChrisHatfield.

 
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