While the Boston Red Sox are searching for an answer at third base, the Portland Sea Dogs are scheduled to begin play Friday with two of the best third-base prospects in the game.

The Red Sox promoted Michael Chavis to the Portland Sea Dogs from advanced Class A Salem, the Salem franchise announced Thursday. Also promoted was infielder Chad De La Guerra.

Chavis, 21, comes to Portland as the hottest hitter in the Red Sox minor league system, leading in OPS (1.029) and home runs (17). He’s batting .318.

Twelve of Chavis’ home runs were hit in Salem’s pitcher-friendly stadium, which is a franchise record.

While the Sea Dogs are receiving Chavis, third baseman Rafael Devers is still on the Portland roster. Devers, 20, considered Boston’s No. 1 prospect, is hitting .297. He is second to Chavis among Boston minor leaguers in OPS (.924) and home runs (14).

Meanwhile, in Boston, the Red Sox third basemen have a combined OPS of .577, worst in the major leagues.

The speculation is that Devers will be given a shot at the major league job sometime in August. But he needs more polish.

Frankly, it’s surprising that the Chavis move did not correspond with a promotion for Devers to Triple-A Pawtucket.

One plausible reason for Devers staying with the Sea Dogs is Boston is waiting for the All-Star break to promote him. Devers should be named to the MLB Futures Game on July 9, as well as the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 12.

It’s conceivable that Boston hasn’t figured out what to do with Devers. Are the Red Sox desperate enough to jump him straight to the majors? I doubt it.

Having Devers and Chavis on the same team isn’t a big deal – they both played third base for low Class A Greenville in 2015. One will play third while the other is the designated hitter. Both are sure to get plenty of action in pregame workouts. I wouldn’t be surprised to see roving infield instructor Andy Fox at Hadlock this weekend.

Devers’ rise in the Red Sox system has been expected. He’s been a touted prospect since signing with Boston when he was 16 for a $1.5 million bonus.

Chavis’ journey through the organization has had its bumps. Drafted out of high school in the first round (26th overall) in 2014, Chavis entered this season with a career .235 average and 25 home runs in 229 games.

Still, Boston kept promoting Chavis and he responded this year in Salem.

“He’s shown some specific adjustments that’s led to that improved performance,” said the Red Sox director of player development, Ben Crockett, last month. “He’s shown a really consistent approach at the plate, making adjustments with two strikes, being aggressive to his pitch.

“It hasn’t been a hot streak or flukiness. We’ve seen some good work being done.”

Chavis was named the Carolina League All-Star Game MVP this past Tuesday. His two-run double provided the only RBI in a 2-0 game.

After the game, Salem Manager Joe Oliver told the Roanoke Times that “it’s been pretty special to see a guy who’s finally put some things together that are legitimate … Pretty astounding how he’s maintained the same approach.”

So what happens if Chavis keeps developing and is close to the majors in a year or two? Boston, with Devers and Chavis, could go from dearth to abundance at third base.

Wouldn’t that be a nice problem? Chavis, by the way, was a shortstop in high school. He could conceivably also play second base.

De La Guerra, 24, was also a Carolina League All-Star. He was batting .294/.832 in Salem while playing shortstop and second base. He was a 17th-round draft pick in 2015 out of Grand Canyon University.

The Sea Dogs’ roster will need to be adjusted with the addition of Chavis and De La Guerra. One move might be the promotion of utility player Tzu-Wei Lin. In his second year in Portland, Lin is batting .299/.840.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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