‘Boring’ routine brings exciting results for Red Sox Michael Chavis
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The left field wall at JetBlue Park is 3 feet taller than the original version at Fenway Park. Michael Chavis has already hit two home runs well over it in spring training.
The second came on Wednesday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles in the home game of a split-squad doubleheader. Chavis came up in the fourth inning with two runners on and hit the second pitch he saw from veteran righthander Bo Schultz over everything.
Chavis, a 23-year-old infielder, is 4 of 9 with three home runs in four games. All were three-run shots.
Manager Alex Cora acknowledged he didn’t know what to expect from Chavis coming into camp.
“I didn’t see him last year. I heard a lot of stuff. I saw videos, but that’s just videos,” the manager said. “He has a pretty good idea of what he’s doing. He prepares; he pays attention to the game. You can see he works on his [mechanics]. In batting practice he understands what he wants to do.”
That’s a product of what Chavis considers the necessary work to prepare for the season. He has a plan for what he wants to accomplish each day and sticks with it.
“I’m trying to make things boring how I go about my business,” Chavis said. “I want to do everything the same every single day, the repetition, getting into a routine. Everybody preaches about routines and how important they are.
“That’s part of it right now, building that up in spring training. That’s going to establish what I can do every single day.”
Chavis has played baseball long enough to know that hitting three three-run homers over a span of four games isn’t normal.
“Each one being three runs is a little weird,” he said.
But Chavis, who does not lack confidence in his abilities, is not at all surprised with the good contact he has made.
“I don’t really think it’s odd,” he said. “I think it preaches about how I approached the offseason and how I went about my business every day leading up to the game. I’m focused so much on the process that the results just come. That’s really what it is.
“Like I said, make things boring and do the same things every day. Boring is better, honestly. As long as things are consistent and the results keep showing up, that’s where we’re staying.”
Chavis described himself as a “nerd” about hitting given his wide-ranging curiosity and passion about it. Books, video . . . he consumes all he can find.
“He can hit,” Cora said. “Bottom line, he can hit.”
Chavis was invited to major league camp last season but never got to the plate in a game because of an oblique strain. He was then suspended for 80 games after a positive test for an anabolic steroid.
That Chavis has vehemently denied knowingly using the drug won’t change how he’s perceived in some corners. But he had a .919 OPS in 46 minor league games after the suspension last season and has so far impressed in camp.
All the former first-round pick can do is pass further tests and play well. So far, he has done that.
Bobby Dalbec started at first base and was 2 for 3 with a run scored against the Orioles. He is 4 of 7 with a home run and two RBIs counting the game against Northeastern.
As the Red Sox slowly break in their veteran hitters — J.D. Martinez, Mitch Moreland, and Steve Pearce have yet to play — Chavis and Dalbec are getting a lot of attention.
For the Sox, who have been rebuilding their farm system, having a pair of 23-year-olds performing well in major league spring training is a good sign.
“Those two guys, they have a pretty good idea of what they’re doing,” Cora said. “They control the strike zone. They’re good; they’re pretty good. It’s good for them to be around here and talk to players and be around.
“They’ll be a big part of our organization moving forward. It’s fun to watch them.”
As for the Green Monster, it’s treating Chavis kindly so far.
“I’m liking it right now until you hit a line drive and you get a single out of it,” he said. “But for right now we’re friends.”