Michael Chavis celebrates being selected by the Red Sox in last June’s draft with former MLB commissioner Bud Selig. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, Fla. — With all the talk about Yoan Moncada — the 19-year-old Cuban who is on the verge of signing minor-league deal with a $31.5 signing bonus with the Red Sox
— it’s interesting to note there’s another infielder, just 2 1/2 months older than Moncada already walking through Red Sox
camp carrying a fair amount of expectations.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” said the Red Sox first-round pick last year, Michael Chavis, of the Moncada deal. “I try not to get wrapped up in the money concept, but if the point is to go out and get the best players possible, why not?
“He might be 19, but I’ve seen how he handles himself and I’ve seen him and I’ve seen how he handles himself. He’s very mature as a person. Obviously he’s shown himself on the field, so I don’t think the age really matters. Wasn’t [Ken] Griffey like 19 when he was in the Show. It’s proven that you can be young and play in the Show. It’s just about talent level and I think he’ll be just fine.”
It was just about eight months ago that Chavis was the teenager put under the microscope, having inked a $1,870,500 signing bonus after being selected out of Sprayberry Senior (GA) High with the 26th overall pick.
Yoan Moncada spent the day with Red Sox personnel at JetBlue Park Wednesday. (WEEI.com)
But now, the hype has given way to Moncada.
One of the topic of conversation following around the Cuban infielder is how physically put together he is for his age. But the stocky Chavis points suggests such size shouldn’t be shocking for kids their age.
“Walk in the locker room. We’ve got a bunch of big guys,” the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Chavis said. “Every time you see a bigger younger guy they’re going to have questions and stuff like that. But they’re just looking for reasons why he’s so talented. People never want to accept they put in hard work and it’s a talented kid.”
What’s also interesting to think about is the future of both players considering they could be, at some point, sharing the same major league infield.
Moncada is projected to play either second or third base, while Chavis enters his first professional spring training as a third baseman.
“I like to look at it that way, but not in a cocky sense,” said Chavis regarding the idea of playing with Moncada in the big leagues. “Obviously, I have a long way to go. I just finished my season in the GCL. But it’s more of a goal to play with these guys. You see all the guys walking around, and it’s a goal to be with them some day in a big league clubhouse.”
Moncada aside, Chavis has already been through a whirlwind since arriving at JetBlue Park last week. “It’s just my third day, but a lot of has happened in three days,” he explained. “It’s been really exciting.”
Fortunately for the infielder, the confines aren’t unfamiliar considering he spent every summer for the past six years coming to play at Fenway South while participating for the East Cobb Astros.
And, as a bonus, because one of his teammates was former Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron‘s son, Daz, Chavis even got to hit in the same batting cages he now finds himself sharing with the Red Sox big leaguers.
“I would be watching the GCL team taking BP and I was just thinking, “Wow, they must be really good,'” he said.
“It’s crazy. The first day I walked in Hanley [Ramirez] was sitting down talking to somebody. I was trying to not be too obvious about it but I kept watching what he was doing. I was just surprised at how big he was. It’s crazy to be near these guys and size up. I’m like, ‘OK, I have a ways to go.'”