Arizona Fall League batting practice chatter – Michael Chavis, Austin Riley and Alex Jackson

Peoria, AZ – November 10, 2017

Michael Chavis, 3B, Boston Red Sox 92/100 and 2nd overall in the Red Sox organization, #4 on Prospects1500’s Red Sox Top 50 prospects from August 2017

Chavis came into 2017 with 25 professional HR, slugging .396, in 873 at bats.  I asked him if he had many any swing changes or adjustments that lead to a monster 2017 season that saw him swat 31 long balls and slugging .563, earning a promotion to AA.  Chavis told me that he did not make any adjustments but attributed his breakout season to being healthy and essentially maturing as a hitter.

Chavis hit a walk off HR the day before.  He is currently slashing .263/.341/.447 as of 11.12.17.

Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves 10th ranked prospect in the Braves organization, #13 on Prospects1500’s Atlanta Braves Top 50 Prospects from August 2017

Riley’s professional career is off to a nice start with back to back 20 HR seasons and a promotion to AA in Mississippi.  He has also shown to be a torrid second half hitter.  In 2016 at single A Rome, he posted a .617 OPS in the first half and as the weather improved, so did his bat, posting a .929 OPS in the second half.  2017 saw the same trend. At High A Florida, Riley’s OPS was .709 in the first half.  Despite the slow start, Riley was promoted to AA where he blew up to the tune of a .900 OPS and 8 HR in 48 games.  I asked him if there was anything to it, and he told me that he had no idea why but he hoped to figure it out in 2018.

Riley is currently 2nd in the Arizona Fall League in HR with 6 (just behind Braves teammate Ronald Acuna’s 7) while slashing .302/.362/.698 as of 11.12.17.

Alex Jackson, C, Atlanta Braves 16th ranked player in the Braves organization, #10 on Prospects1500’s Atlanta Braves Top 50 Prospects.

Jackson was considered one of the top hitters in the 2014 draft out of high school.  He was taken 6th overall by Seattle and converted to OF.  While he displayed some good pop at times, he swatted only 21 HR from 14-16.  The Braves acquired him for 2 pitchers and converted him back to catcher.  Jackson responded with 14 HR in the Florida State League before earning a promotion to AA and hitting 5 more HR.

I asked Jackson if his success was tied to a switch of organizations and positions.  He stated that his success had nothing to do with switching organizations and hinted that a return to catching has helped him by allowing him to see more pitches while on defense. According to him, the biggest reason for his success in 2017 was just going out and having fun.  “How can you not have fun doing this everyday!” he told me.

Jackson is 3rd in the AFL with 5 HR and is slashing .265/.324/.529 as of 11.12.17.

Article featured image of Michael Chavis – courtesy of Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame)

Jason Woodell has written about prospects for numerous sites. He got his start with Prospects1500 and has provided reports on prospects for Baseball Prospectus, 2080 Baseball, and Pinstriped Prospects. Jason is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and former model in Jordan. He lives in Tampa, likes dogs, craft beer, and his wife…not necessarily in that order.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonAtTheGame.

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