There’s only been one trade so far that many Mariners fans feel was “screwed up” by GM Jack Zduriencik, and that was the trade that sent Brandon Morrow to Toronto for reliever Brandon League. League has been frustrating in his time with the Mariners, but there’s still been a nice beacon of hope for the future that’s come out of that trade. This next player is that beacon:
7. Johermyn Chavez
Position: OF | Hits: R Throws: R
DOB: 1/26/1989 | HT: 6’3″ WT: 220 LB
Notes: Chavez is a big young man, and he plays the game in a way that fits the part. He has a lot of power at the plate and a huge arm in the outfield, and his first year in the Mariners’ system proved to be a breakout that put him firmly on the prospect radar after spending a few years on its fringes. Now he’s in AA and trying to prove that 2010 wasn’t a High Desert-aided fluke.
Chavez has a strong, aggressive swing that he put a lot of work in to before the 2010 season in order to work out some issues. It used to have a loop early on that slowed the entire thing down, and that loop helped create a bit of a chopping motion that led Chavez to hit the ball on the ground too often. Now he gets much better loft on the ball, and the leverage his swing generates comes in to much better play.
Chavez even shows a good ability to wait for the right pitch, especially for a young slugger. He does get caught over-committing at times, and will strike out a lot, but the willingness to take walks will help offset that somewhat. He will still go through periods where he gets too power-hungry and sees his overall production droop, however.
In the field, Chavez has a cannon arm with good accuracy, and he already has a whopping 42 outfield assists in his minor league career. That arm has placed him in right field for the majority of his playing time, but there are concerns as to how well he can stick there in the future. Chavez’s footspeed is only average, and he’s already showed signs of slowing down over the last couple of years. His initial instincts aren’t bad, but his route-running is… well, it’s not good. If he makes the majors and his team already has another corner outfielder with a good arm, he’d probably be much better off playing in left field.
There’s a lot of reasons to like Chavez, and his overall skillset has him in a better position than guys like Greg Halman or Carlos Peguero. While Halman and Peguero are much more athletic than Chavez, their approaches and swings lend them a higher chance to fail in the long run. Chavez has a more sound overall approach, and at 22 years old, he has a chance at a nice, long career if he can finish putting things together.
Still, there are concerns with consistency when it comes to Chavez. Before the trade that brought him to the Mariners’ organization, he’d only really had one good season. That his breakout came in the offensively-friendly environment of Adelanto, California will always raise question marks, especially as he had some slightly concerning splits. Chavez needs to have a good year in AA in order to put some of those questions to rest.
2011 Outlook: Will stay with AA Jackson unless needed in AAA Tacoma.
Major League ETA: Late 2012/early 2013