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SoxProspects News

September 11, 2019 at 2:00 PM

2019 SoxProspects.com Awards: Homegrown Player, Ex-Prospect, and Graduate of the Year

SoxProspects.com award season continues after position players were announced Monday and pitchers on Tuesday. The three players to follow have all graduated as prospects and have made a major impact at the major league level. 

Homegrown Player of the Year
Mookie Betts won Homegrown Player of the Year in 2018 and has followed it up with another marvelous season, hitting .290/.390/.526 with 28 home runs, 40 doubles, five triples, 14 stolen bases, and 129 runs scored so far. Most of the time, that would be good enough to repeat. However, Xander Bogaerts (pictured, left) and Rafael Devers (pictured, right) consistently raked all season long, as they have each earned a share of the award.

Bogaerts has followed up a breakout 2018 season with an even better 2019. So far, the Red Sox shortstop has set career-highs in home runs (31), doubles (49), walks (69), RBI (105), on-base percentage (.380), slugging percentage (.562), and Fangraphs' version of WAR (6.2). Through September 10, Bogaerts is also second in all of baseball in extra-base hits with 80. The 26-year old earned himself a contract extension at the end of March worth a total of $132 million that will keep him in Boston through 2025. That came after a 2018 in which he hit .288 with 23 home runs, 45 doubles, and 103 RBI. His defense at short has had mixed results in 2019, as Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) has him as a below average shortstop, while Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) has him as a top 10 defensive shortstop. Either way, any time a guy can be steady at shortstop while posting a .942 OPS, he is going to be among the most valuable players in baseball.

Devers has had one of the best seasons a 22-year old has ever had. He is currently hitting .314/.365/.565 with 29 home runs, 107 RBI, 116 runs, 50 doubles, and four triples. He is leading all of baseball in extra-base hits with 83 and is the youngest player in Red Sox history to hit at least 50 doubles. According to Baseball Savant, Devers is also leading baseball in hard-hit balls (balls with an exit velocity of 95 or higher) with 225. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Devers' 2019 campaign is the improvements he has made defensively. From 2018 to 2019, his DRS has improved by eight runs, his UZR has improved by 6.3, and his fielding percentage has improved from .926 to .944.

Ex-Prospect of the Year
Anthony Rizzo came close to winning this award for the fourth time, but it's the biggest piece Boston sent to the White Sox for Chris Sale that takes it home. Yoan Moncada has enjoyed a breakout season for Chicago, batting .301/.358/.532 with 23 home runs, 27 doubles, three triples, and nine stolen bases. He is currently tied for 10th in the American League in Fangraphs' version of WAR at 4.6. Moncada has also done a good job cutting down his strikeout rate this year, as it went from 33.4% in 2018 to 27.5% in 2019. He has also transitioned smoothly from second base to third base, as he has been one of the better defenders at the hot corner this year.

The 24-year old was acquired by the Red Sox in 2015 as an international free agent signing, then spent two years in Boston's farm system before being called up to Boston for an eight-game cup of coffee at the end of 2016.

Graduate of the Year
Michael Chavis (pictured, left) was called up a bit earlier than expected, making his big league debut on April 20th. He burst onto the scene, posting a .967 OPS with 10 home runs in his first 28 games. He sparked the Sox after a brutal start, as the team won 18 of those 28 games. He cooled off a bit after that, but still finished his season with a respectable slash line of .254/.322/.444 with 18 home runs in 95 games. Chavis saw time at first base, second base, and third base for Boston in 2019. The injury bug got to Chavis, hurting his shoulder while making a sensational diving catch, then suffering an oblique injury during his rehab that will likely end his season.

Chavis was a first round draft pick in 2014 out of high school by the Sox. He was named the SoxProspects.com Breakout Player of the Year in 2017 when he belted 31 home runs between Salem and Portland. He had a rough 2018, as he was suspended 80 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Chavis was moved to the number one spot on SoxProspects.com's top prospects list and held the spot until he graduated this year.

Photo Credit: Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Michael Chavis by Kelly O'Connor