Meet the New Faces: C.J. Chatham

The Red Sox rounded out their 40 man roster on Tuesday by adding 5 players. Those 5 players, along with the other players on the 40 man roster will be protected from being taken in the Rule 5 draft. It is time to meet the new additions to the 40 man roster. Some could be ready to contribute in 2020 to the big club. The second guy to look at is C.J. Chatham.

Like Bobby Dalbec, C.J. Chatham was drafted during the 2016 MLB draft. He was taken in the 2nd round, and was the 51st player taken overall. Chatham is 24 years old, and has really come into his own as a shortstop in the minor leagues. He doesn’t possess the raw power of Dalbec, but he still has plenty of intrigue about him.

The Profile For Chatham

The bat does have enough life in it to make Chatham a serviceable MLB player. His career slash line throughout the minors has been .298/.337/.402. As mentioned before, the power just doesn’t exist with Chatham. He has only hit 14 home runs in his four years in the minors. It is not a case of developing into it either, as the power has never been there for Chatham.

However, Chatham can provide some decent hitting. This past season, he had 31 doubles between Double-A and Triple-A. Chatham can also help a team cut down on strikeouts. He generally runs a strikeout percentage in the high teens, while keeping a decent line drive approach. His trouble remains the inability to draw walks. At the Triple-A level this past season, he walked only 4.4% of the time. His numbers generally hover in that range for a percentage. He will likely need to find ways to get on base more often if he wants to stick in the bigs.

The thing that sets Chatham apart is his defense. He has the tools to become a major league shortstop defensively, but his bat may hold him back from a full time role. Even still, defensive replacements and utility infielders have become more valuable as time as gone along. He is considered to have a plus arm, and should be able to bring a team pretty good value defensively, according to Sox Prospects.

The Fit for the Red Sox

Notably, Brock Holt is a free agent this year. Holt has been the primary utility man for the Red Sox since the 2014 season. Holt gets on base quite a bit more than Chatham, but Chatham may be viewed as a better defender. This is likely the reason that he was added to the 40-man roster. 

The team has been said to be cutting payroll down, especially with comments made by ownership earlier this offseason. That being said, it’s possible the team decides to go with internal options to fill out their utility players. Guys like Dalbec, Chatham, Marco Hernandez and Tzu-Wei Lin may find themselves playing at Fenway more often than fans would think.

C.J. Chatham is certainly an intriguing prospect. However, he needs to learn some plate discipline in order to get his OBP up if he wants to stick in the majors. The Red Sox have been playing Chatham at all infield positions during 2019. Suffice to say, they see that he can be a great utility option for the big club

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