Opinion

How Michael Chavis Is Introducing Red Sox Fans to the Modern-Day Hitter

Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Nov. 6, 2017 – Source: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images North America)

As the Red Sox are heating up, one can not help but notice the impact made by rookie infielder, Michael Chavis. Since his debut on April 20th (where he smoked a double), he has led the team in slugging percentage (.725) and OPS (1.186) in 63 plate appearances. As a result, the team has gone 10-5 with his presence.

Yet, what I found most interesting was that Chavis leads the team in home runs, walks, and strikeouts since his debut. For those who do not recognize what is interesting about that, those statistics are what as known as the “three true outcomes.” Home runs, walks, and strikeouts are considered the “three true outcomes” because there is no defensive influence. They are pure hitter vs. pitcher matchups. The offensive game is trending towards the “three true outcomes” strategy, where hitters are less encouraged to shorten up their swings in order to put the ball in play. It is the equivalent of the term “go big or go home.”

This strategy has resulted in more strikeouts and home runs in the game of baseball. In fact, the MLB strikeout percentage has increased every year since 2005. Also, the MLB has reset its league strikeout record every year since 2008.

All of Chavis’ home runs, walks, and strikeouts have given him a 46% in-play percentage, which is much less than the 2019 MLB average of 63%. (In-play percentage is the percentage of plate appearances that do not end in home runs, strikeouts, walks, and hit-by-pitches.) Obviously, this is in a small sample size, but one could also see this trend in the minor leagues last year. Chavis put balls in play at a 57% rate in 2018 between Lowell, Portland, and Pawtucket. This isn’t necessarily a bad sign. It is just different than what Red Sox fans are used to seeing. In 2018, the team ranked T-2nd in IP%.

The message here is that strikeouts will come for Michael Chavis, and probably at a higher rate than everyone else on the team. But, we all should understand that that is part of his game. He wins big and loses big. The strikeouts do not stop him from creating runs, as he is quick to get an extra-base hit soon after. We will all have to get used to this, because there are a lot more Michael Chavis-types coming to the league and the organization.

Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Nov. 6, 2017 – Source: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images North America)

 

 

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