London Series preview: Second base

The first ever MLB games to be played in Europe are only a matter of days away. Here is the Bat Flips and Nerds player preview to get you in the mood for the London Series.


Michael Chavis

  • Team: Boston Red Sox
  • Height: 178cm (5’ 10”)
  • Age: 23
  • Bats: Right-handed
  • From: Georgia, USA
  • 2019 salary: $0.55 million (pre-arbitration eligible)

Despite leading the Red Sox in home runs during Spring Training, Michael Chavis, blocked at the hot corner by Rafael Devers, had little reason for optimism that he would see extended playing time at the Major League level this season.

The most likely route to the big leagues was at first base in 2020 if the Red Sox failed to resign Mitch Moreland or Steve Pearce. Then, as often happens, things worked themselves out, and the Red Sox suffered a slew of injuries at second base with Brock Holt, Eduardo Núñez and Dustin Pedroia all landing on the injured list.

After a quick positional acclimation in the minors, Chavis made his MLB debut on April 20th and has been a fixture in the lineup ever since.

MLB’s No.75 prospect has played first, second and third base for the Red Sox this season and has already reached double-digit home runs.

His PED suspension last year is now a distant blip, and with the AL Rookie of the Month award for May under his belt, Chavis will firmly be in contention for ROY consideration at the end of the year.

If the 23-year-old is forced into action at first base, then look for Brock Holt or Eduardo Núñez to pick up the slack. Holt is even more versatile than Chavis, having played everywhere except catcher and centre field last season. With a career .368 SLG, he lacks much offensive punch so is more suited to the utilityman role from the bench.

As a youngster, former Yankee Núñez used to play third base and shortstop whenever New York legends Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter needed a day off. Núñez has a 40-stolen base season to his name, but even though the speed has dried up, the 32-year-old still gives Red Sox manager Alex Cora plenty of options.

One player we won’t see is London is the Red Sox talismanic second baseman Dustin Pedroia who has embarked on an indefinite break from baseball. The former MVP is struggling with a knee problem which might signal the end of his illustrious career.

Gleyber Torres

  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Height: 185cm (6’ 1”)
  • Age: 22
  • Bats: Right-handed
  • From: Venezuela
  • 2019 salary: $0.6 million (pre-arbitration eligible)

The Venezuelan infielder was the star piece in the deal that sent closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs in 2016. It was a high price for Chicago to pay, but Chapman was integral in helping the Cubs break their World Series drought, so the cost was worth it.

Gleyber Torres was primarily a second baseman last season but has been equally impressive at shortstop this year with Didi Gregorius unavailable through injury. Now that Gregorius is back, look for Torres to move over to second base, and occasionally slip back to shortstop to give the Dutchman a day off.

Torres finished third in Rookie of the Year voting last season but is already on pace to improve upon 2018’s stat line of 24 home runs, 77 RBI, 54 runs and .271 AVG.

Whether the Venezuelan plays second base or shortstop in London, the British crowd will be very fortunate to witness his exploits with both bat and glove in London. At only 22-years-old, Torres could develop into one of the truly great Yankee infielders.

DJ LeMahieu

  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Height: 193cm (6’ 4”)
  • Age: 30
  • Bats: Right-handed
  • From: California, USA
  • 2019 salary: $12 million (two-year, $24 million contract for 2019-20)

The Yankees invested heavily in David John LeMahieu and convinced the former Rockies’ infielder that New York should be home despite not having a starting job for him.

The three times Gold Glove winner looked like an overpriced utility player, but the much-publicised injury crisis in the Big Apple opened the door for LeMahieu to seize the everyday second baseman job, and in the process make the Yankees front office look like geniuses.

The versatile 30-year-old can play anywhere across the infield. This, coupled with his ability to hit for a high batting average (.310 over the last five years), means that LeMahieu will continue to see significant playing time even if he loses his starting job at second base.

The return from injury of shortstop Didi Gregorius will likely push Gleyber Torres into the role of Yankees’ primary second baseman that he filled last season. Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone expects LeMahieu to assume a super-utility role seeing starts at first, second and third base. He leads the Yankees with 1.7 WAR, so we are guaranteed to see him in action in London.

A player that we are unlikely to see in London is Venezuelan infielder Thairo Estrada. The Yankees No.19 prospect has a great future ahead of him but was optioned back to Triple-A with the roster crunch caused by Gregorius’s activation from the IL. Oh, and it’s pronounced TYE-roh.

Watch out for the rest of our player profiles and make sure you follow @BatFlips_Nerds on Twitter to keep up-to-date with all of the latest London Series news.

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