Michael Chavis, the Boston Red Sox top prospect made his 2018 debut for the Lowell Spinners last night (7/2/18) after serving an 80-game PED (Performance Enhancing Drug) suspension. Chavis isn’t expected to spend much time with the Spinners after hitting 14 home runs and 39 RBI through 67 games with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs last season.
After such a long suspension, time is needed to get back into baseball shape. Obviously, baseball is a game of timing and Chavis emphasized working on picking up the fastball as his first priority.
“I wasn’t trying to be passive. But I wanted to stay under control. I want to stay process oriented. I wanted to be on time on fastballs tonight. If I’m on time with fastballs it’s just steps that keep going.”
Chavis hadn’t played in a live game since the fall league after being invited by the Red Sox to this year’s Spring Training as a “non-roster invitee.” The 22-year old Chavis was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Imagine the pressure Chavis was facing tonight? Every pitch, every at bat, he knew haters were watching. He even battled off several on Twitter before his suspension ended. The kid has poise that is evident and did not back down from the media either.
Chavis must have wondered how this Spinners team would receive him. It was his first game “under the lights” in a while. In more ways than one.
He played only day games most recently so a night game was out of the norm. Also he had known the cameras were watching. Every gesture, move, and word that was made would be ridiculed or applauded.
“After 80 games waiting for this, I was really happy to be out there again. I can’t say enough about this team. They were really welcoming to me as soon as I got in the clubhouse. Everybody was really nice and really helpful which is huge. They weren’t being standoffish. It says a lot about the new guys who don’t even know me. It says a lot about them as teammates and as people.”
Chavis went 0-3 with a walk for the Spinners. In his two at bats where he made contact, the balls were hit on a line. He grounded out in his first at bat and lined out to 3B (on the first pitch) in his second at bat. His 3rd at bat ended in a foul tip strikeout and the walk occurred during the 4th at bat.
Third in the lineup tonight, Chavis was underwhelming but that was to be expected. He is comfortable in that position in the lineup but doesn’t always expect that going forward.
“I like hitting 3rd. I would say it’s where I’m most comfortable because I’ve done that the most. But I don’t expect to be called up to Boston and be hitting 3rd. At the end of the day, I have to be comfortable hitting where I’m at. Even if I’m hitting 9th, I’m going to try and do damage.”
Corey Wimberly (13) is a manager who I’m sure Chavis is happy to play for. Wimbo (as he is also known) was very energetic and enthusiastic going into the season. After taking the lead in the game, Wimberly felt the Spinners had control from that point on.
“I feel like we had the right guys to hold the lead. We were in a good position pretty much the whole game.” This man has a fire about him that I haven’t seen much on a personal level. Usually a man with a fire in him, can inspire others as well.
A young man who doesn’t need any inspiration is Tyler Dearden. Playing LF tonight, Dearden went 2-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Both of his doubles were absolutely smoked into a gap. The doubles took place in Dearden’s first and second at bats.
In a loaded outfield, Dearden (60) is a player to keep an eye on. He follows the Lowell Spinners mantra of “max effort.” At 19-years-old, he is only in his first season but I am impressed.
With 0 home runs this season and 4 RBI, I guess it wouldn’t be plausible to consider Dearden a middle of the order bat in the future but give it time and those numbers can exponentially increase. The kid has only played in 12 professional games in his career- give it time.
The Spinners won their 17th game 3-1. They are now 8-9 on the season. 5-3 at home and 3-6 on the road. I don’t think this is a team that will ultimately care what crowd they play in front of. Not to say they don’t want to be exceptional at home.
Eduardo Bazardo pitched well in front of the home crowd at LeLacheur Park. Bazardo allowed 3 hits and 1 ER across 5 innings. Striking out 8 batters in those five innings, Bazardo was the Spinners Player of the Game. In 74 pitches, Bazardo through a very accurate 53 pitches for strikes (71.6%)
Andrew Politi closed out the game for the Spinners. Politi allowed one walk but had two strikeouts in the 9th inning to shut the door. His strike % was not as good as Bazardo’s with Politi throwing 14 strikes in 24 pitches (58.3%) At the end of the night, Politi can be thankful for his 3.18 ERA in 5.2 innings for the Spinners this season.
The time of game was 2 hours and 32 minutes. Thankfully, it was a clear and 87 degree type of summer night.
The Lowell Spinners by the numbers through 17 games:
Best HR hitter: Tyler Esplin (2)
Most RBI: Kole Cottam (10)
Runs Leader: Jarren Duran (10)
OBP% Leader: Jonathan Ortega (.429%)
Last 10 Games: 5-5
ERA Leader: Tanner Raiburn (0.00 in 4 games and 6 innings)
Most Walks by a Pitcher: Alberto Franco (9)
Most Errors by a Fielder: Andre Colon (4)
Leader in At Bats: Jaren Duran (53)
Innings Pitched: Eduardo Bazardo (20.0)
Team ERA: 3.82
Team Batting Average: .237