Scouting Report: Michael Chavis

Kiley shares a scouting report on power bat Michael Chavis and an interesting take on his position.

Michael Chavis, IF, Sprayberry HS (GA), Clemson commit

5'11/205, R/R, 18.8 age on Draft Day

Hit: 55/50+, Power: 50/60, Run: 55/50, Field: 45/50+, Throw: 60/60

I was up and down on Chavis this summer, but always thought he was a top 3 rounds prospect. As you can see from the video, he was at a number of events. Chavis showed well in the showcase portions and made more contact than many of his peers in game situations. His swing was also consistently showing some similar flaws and he would swing and miss more than you'd like to see at times.

In the BP at Petco Park before the PG All-American Game in August, he was hitting balls about 400 feet to left-center in a big yard. This summer, Chavis consistently ran the 60 in the 6.8 range and has above average bat speed, flashing the quick-twitch ability you wouldn't guess could come out of that frame and leading you to believe this could end up being a 1st round type of prospect.

The noise coming out of Atlanta on Chavis' spring has been very positive. Scouts were telling me he looks slimmer and quicker, his arm looks stronger, his BP power displays are huge and he's making all kinds of contact in games. I saw most of that, but in my game he had only 3 plate appearances with one intentional walk. He plays shortstop in high school and won't play there in the pros, but he looks quicker and flashed a plus arm that I hadn't seen over the summer. Chavis' hands are just okay and you could stick him at second base where the power really profiles, but he'll probably fit best at third.

The interesting angle on Chavis is what position he plays. Talking with some scouts at the game, I asked the group if they thought he could catch. A few of them said their club had already asked Chavis if he was open to it and he said yes (scouts love Chavis makeup, so this doesn't surprise me), but admitted he had barely tried it before. Other scouts hadn't considered it and said they thought it could work, as the quick feet, plus arm and frame all fit the typical catcher profile. One expressed concern that his hands might not be good enough, but everyone agreed there's no way to before the draft--and that Chavis will definitely put on the gear at some private pre-draft workouts so teams can see if this is a viable option. In this way, he's similar to the Giants 2013 1st rounder, Florida prep infielder Christian Arroyo.

There are some things I don't like about Chavis' swing and are probably holding back his contact rate. First of all, it's important to mention that Chavis is still among the better hitters in his class and the goal isn't to make his swing a generic low maintenance coach's dream per se, but just eliminate the parts that won't work in pro ball while letting him do what he's already been doing well. I think Chavis has fallen in love with the positive feedback from big BP displays and is cheating, especially early in the count, to pull the ball. His power in BP is almost exclusively over the pull side and that's common for young hitters.

Chavis' load is inconsistent, with his hands usually staying completely still when most hitters are moving their hands to get their timing right. Chavis makes a lot of moves late in his swing and that's what causing some of the problems that won't become concerns until pro ball, but could be avoided with some work in the cage. He is creating so much torque in such a small window of time, that the movements are inconsistent swing-to-swing and if his balance isn't perfect, he can end up popping up at contact with a narrow base, soft front side and more head movement than is necessary, all possibly affecting the swing path that can get a little uphill. I think toning down all the late movement and/or spreading it over more time in the swing should get him more under control and create more contact without costing much power. This could also eliminate or reduce his trouble getting off balance with off-speed pitches.

Chavis is comfortably in the 1st round given the bat/power/infield combo and a long track record from a extensive summer playing with the East Cobb program. He won't be getting to campus for Clemson and should fit anywhere in picks 12-25 depending on how clubs interpret some of the factors I mention above. The catching thing is a way for scouts that want their club to take Chavis in the middle of the first round to move him a couple spots up the board. No one will see enough to be confident he can stick back there before the draft, but that kind of bat has a way of sneaking up boards even when there's no defensive value, so I could see a couple clubs really buying in, particularly in a draft short on power bats.

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