Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Santiago Chavez preparing to shatter Texas League records
While Santiago, or otherwise "Jose", Chavez is a relatively anonymous figure within the entirety of the Athletics MiLB system, the 18 year old (5/8/1995) Mexican backstop is currently positioned in Midland, TX after a mere two consecutive DSL campaigns previously with absolutely zero domestic professional experience aside from his preseason bouts with the Beloit Papago spring club this March, as he has been sufficiently rewarded for his dominant spring outings with a daunting Rockhounds assignment in correspondence to Ryan Lipkin landing upon the disabled list and following Addison Russell's casualty from the Midland roster. While the stint is nothing that shall be prolonged, set to instantaneously depart following Lipkin's reactivation and commence within the AZL throughout this campaign, Chavez' probable appearance with a ballgame for Midland would be unprecedented, as the last 18 year old in the Texas League was Martin Perez in 2009 and the last positional 18 year old was Roger Cedeño during the 1993 season over two decades ago. Before Cedeño? Jeff Ransom in 1979... So only two over the previous 35 years in the Texas League have played and been below the age of 19. For Midland, they have never utilized anyone below the age of 19 within a contest while under an Oakland affiliation even upon the mound (Since the 1999 campaign) with only two teenagers in 19 year olds Daric Barton (2005) and Angel Berroa (1999) during the 15 year Athletics tenure. Chavez, who bested Seongmin Kim, Kyle Wheeler and Josh Miller for the opportunity as well as Iolana Akau, he shall service within a relief capacity with Beau Taylor expected to acquire the majority of the outings through this upcoming week. But, unlikely to utilize Taylor for seven consecutive contests, it is presumed Chavez shall appear in at least one outing and become the third positional 18 year old to participate in the Texas League over the last 35 seasons. His arrival is accredited to Nick Rickles currently recuperating from an ailment as the Stetson alumni was slotted upon Midland's roster initially as well to open the 2013 campaign, including a 2-4 performance in his only contest. For Chavez, the $200,000 investment who inked alongside Seongmin Kim during the 2011 international signing period, his assignment speaks towards the organization's outlook on him after a successful DSL sophomore stint and a short season schedule awaiting following his cannonball into the deep end of the minor leagues. Here's what Baseball America had to say following Oakland's acquisition of the youngster:
"The A's stayed away from an expensive July 2 market, then came away with a pair of interesting players in November. One of those players was Mexican catcher Santiago Chavez, who was not affiliated with a Mexican League team and signed directly with the A's for $200,000. Chavez, who turned 16 last year on Aug. 5, was one of the younger players in last year's signing class. He played in the Saltillo Little League and shows good instincts. At 6-foot, 165 pounds, Chavez is athletic for a catcher with room to get stronger. He has a quick righthanded bat and an average arm."
I additionally had Santiago Chavez slotted as my #25 Oakland Athletics international farmhand entering the 2014 campaign, just behind Chih Fang-Pan:
Otherwise known as "Jose", Chavez is another Mexican product acquired from the same region as Arnold Leon in Saltillo and inked by Juan Navarette, as the exceptional defensive backstop and six figure acquisition is prepared for his American debut as the 18 year old is currently attending the spring academy in Papago and placed upon the preliminary Beloit roster. After a campaign previously where Chavez demonstrated a contact intensive approach, walking twice in 115 plate appearances while striking out only four times, the DSL catcher had a whopping 94.7% of his PAs result in a batted ball in play within his minuscule sample size. After a 9:18 BB/K between just over 100 attempts upon his 2012 debut, Chavez has accumulated a .236/.281/.284 slash (49-208, 9 XBH) between his opportunities within the Dominican Republic. Regardless, his defensive intangibles and intriguing inability to swing-and-miss shall undoubtedly plop him amongst the AZL cast througout 2014.