Why this Michael Chavis thing is working so well


It has become impossible to ignore Michael Chavis.

At first, when he got called up to the big leagues there was an element of the cart before the horse because what he delivered right out of the gate and the much-needed energy he represented heading into that three-game series at Tropicana Field. After his first six games, he was hitting .200 but those four hits -- two homers, a double and infield hit -- seemed more momentous than most.

It could have been a nice little story for a week or so. But now it has become a nice big story that the Red Sox will be suddenly counting on continuing for some time.

After going 4-for-6 with a pair of home runs in the Red Sox' 15-2 rout of the White Sox Saturday night in Chicago Chavis has now played in 14 big league games. Over that nobody has hit more homers (6) than he has, with his 1.236 OPS serving as the fifth-best in the majors since April 20. (For a complete recap of the Red Sox rout, click here.)

He has been the perfect guy at the perfect time.

But to succeed as Chavis has isn't all that unusual for a major league player. Guys go on runs. This has become a situation where the Red Sox need the rookie to be in it for the long haul, and judging by how he -- and his teammates -- have approached these days there seems to be a path cleared for future success.

"I said it early on the postgame show, and I can’t say enough about the guys in the clubhouse right now," Chavis told reporters. "I’m not just saying that because it’s cliché or anything like that, but they’ve absolutely done everything to make me comfortable. I can’t say enough about Mookie (Betts), J.D. (Martinez), (Steve) Pearce and everybody within the clubhouse not only just making me comfortable but teaching me, kind of taking me under their wing and showing me how things are. I mean, the scouting reports and everything we get, they’re all so elaborate, everything that goes on in the game, between shifts and defensive alignments and sequencing – everything – there’s so much going one, everyone is really just helped me out with that. Another thing I said earlier, I honestly think I’ve learned more and grown more as a player in this past two whatever I’ve been up here than I did the entire year last year. I think that says a lot about the guys, not only as players but as their character. I think it would be easy to see the new guy come in and just brush him off or anything like that, but they’ve helped me a lot. Honestly. I’m very thankful for it."

Before the Red Sox left for this current road trip Alex Cora reveled in the change of philosophies within big league clubhouses when it came to rookies. The isolation mandated by the veterans back in the day was a thing of the past. If you were on the team, you were expected to help.

Starting in spring training the Red Sox players have had the right attitude regarding the infielder, and the player has followed suit.

There were the little things in the back cages in Fort Myers that started to make this thing take root for Chavis, such as Martinez pointing out that the righty hitter's back heel rotated far too much. Or even when Chavis was cut loose from the major league clubhouse before the likes of Bobby Dalbec, taking him away from that major league guidance for the final those final few weeks of March, the infielder found a way to hit the ground running come April 4 with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Chavis notched three hits in that first game of the season in Syracuse but then didn't claim a single one six contests. He stayed the course, caught fire for the final five games before being promoted (7-for-17, 3 homers) and hasn't let up since.

As uncomfortable as last season was for Chavis with his injury and subsequent suspension, this go-round offers the impression of something that fits like a glove. And it's not only because of those hits or home runs.

When walking through the clubhouse last week the word of former Red Sox infielder Will Middlebrooks was brought to Chavis' attention. The quote was in response to a question asking what advice Middlebrooks -- who was the last Red Sox rookie position player to be called up so early in the season due to a desperate need by the big league club -- might give Chavis.

In the WEEI.com story Middlebrooks wrote: "So, overall advice? Hmm. Don’t take one thing for granted. Not a single thing. Because when it’s gone it’s gone. Love and enjoy your teammates. You’re surrounded by some of the best players in the world and guess what, you’re one of them kid! Believe in your abilities day in and day out and never, ever let off the gas. Play this game like you know someone is coming for your job and today could be the last time you ever put on a big league uniform. 

"Oh, and one more thing. When you step out on the field at Fenway take a look around. Smell it. Listen to it. Look at it. The history of players that have stood exactly where you are standing is second to none. You’ll never experience a better place to play baseball. No better fans, no better city, definitely no better place to be. So truly be in the moment."

Chavis paused. Looked up and uttered almost to himself, "That's really cool. That means a lot."

The advice keeps coming, and Chavis continues to soak it all in. That's one of the reasons this is working so well.

Just another day at the office for Michael Scott (Chavis). pic.twitter.com/oMCtVAm3Vv

— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) May 5, 2019