The change-up to Michael Chavis came in at 85 mph.

It flew out at 102 mph, bouncing off the Hadlock Field message board in left-center for another Chavis home run.

Fitting that Chavis homered in the Portland Sea Dogs’ final game of the season Monday, since Chavis’ emergence was one of the highlights of the 2017 season.

Chavis, who turned 22 last month, was one of the top Red Sox prospects to play at Hadlock. He did not disappoint, swatting 14 home runs in 67 games, with an .802 OPS after his promotion from Salem (where he hit 17 home runs with a 1.029 OPS)

Chavis, Boston’s first-round draft pick in 2014, was finally healthy and productive after three so-so seasons (combined 25 homers and .694 OPS).

Then came the breakout in 2017.


“I’ve had blips (of success) but this is my first year where I continually had success,” Chavis said. “I felt comfortable the entire year and that’s a big steppingstone for me.

“It’s kind of reassuring. There have been times I’ve struggled and had some doubts – not so much my ability, but if I was ready.”

Chavis batted only .250 for Portland. But this has been his longest season and he seemed to tire, hitting .125 (6 for 48) over the last 13 games.

“It’s more fatigue,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said. “I’m not going to get caught up in the last couple of games. He’s had a heck of a year.”

Chavis played a solid third base, including a nifty stab on a bouncer down the third-base line and strong throw to first for an out on Monday.

Chavis has also worked out at first base to increase his versatility (especially with third base seemingly set for years at Fenway).


Boston can be patient with Chavis. He’s not eligible for the Rule V draft until after the 2018 season. Next year, Chavis could begin the season in Portland or move to Triple-A. It might depend on his performance in the Arizona Fall League next month, as well as spring training.

No matter where he is next April, Fenway is the goal, and this season has Chavis confident.

“It opened my eyes to realize that I’m not so far off,” he said.

THE TOP PROSPECT for Portland was not Chavis, but Rafael Devers, who is now manning third base for Boston. Devers, 20, batted .300/.944 OPS with 18 home runs in 77 games for Portland.

BIGGEST SURPRISE of the year was infielder Tzu-Wei Lin, who looked to be another bonus baby ($2 million) who was not going to work out. He hit .223/.580 last year in Portland, but was raking (.302/.870) this season when he got called to Fenway in June.

FOUR SEA DOGS reached the majors this years. Along with Devers and Lin, relievers Austin Maddox and Jamie Callahan got the call. Maddox made his debut June 17. Callahan made his debut with the Mets. He was traded to New York on July 31 in the Addison Reed deal.


THE BULLPEN was Portland’s pitching strength, although Maddox and Callahan were promoted to Triple-A early. Ty Buttrey (56 strikeouts in 46 innings) was strong in his first full year out of the pen, and lefty Bobby Poyner (0.94 ERA) was Portland’s best pitcher after his promotion from Salem.

FOR STARTERS, only Jalen Beeks earned a promotion to Triple-A after nine starts (5-1, 2.19). The rest of the rotation had its moments but was inconsistent. Former first-round pick Trey Ball (7-12, 5.27) had his first season in Double-A.

FOR POWER, Devers and Chavis hit the long ball, but were surpassed by Jeremy Barfield, who signed in late June and still hit 27 home runs in 92 games – a franchise record as a Red Sox affiliate.

ATTENDANCE AT Hadlock was the Sea Dogs’ best since 2010. Portland averaged 5,653 a game, an improvement of 299 a game over last year. The 2010 average was 5,832.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-7411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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