American Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier discusses the success that former Wichita Wingnuts slugger Matt Chavez is having in the Atlantic League.
Matt Chavez Leading League in Hitting
While the American Association is now less than a week away from getting underway, some former members of the league are off to fast starts in the Atlantic League. None more so than former Wichita Wingnuts star first baseman Matt Chavez, who is absolutely dominating through the first 12 games in what should be a clear sign to Major League affiliates that AA or even AAA is where he should be right now.
Impressive Credentials Already Displayed
Matt Chavez already had an impressive set of credentials before he moved to the Sugar Land Skeeters. The first baseman won the American Association batting title in 2016, hitting .359 and earning Rookie of the Year honors. Last season, he was well on his way to a triple crown and a league record for RBI when an injury hampered his performance over the final month. Chavez still finished with a .330 average, 17 homers, and 84 RBI in 84 games.
This season, the 29-year-old asked the Wichita Wingnuts to make a deal to send him to the Atlantic League so that he could have the opportunity the showcase his talents in the “better” independent baseball league. Former G.M. Josh Robertson was happy to accommodate his star, giving him that opportunity by moving him to Sugar Land to help him earn a return to affiliate ball.
In 2018, Chavez is picking up right where he left off. Through the first 12 games of the season, the slugger is leading the league with a .511 average and is tied for sixth with 10 runs scored. He leads the Atlantic League with a .558 on-base percentage and is second with a .702 slugging percentage.
The performance makes it puzzling why Chavez has not been signed at this point. He is a talented hitter and the hardest working guy in the sport. Plus, a great club house guy. Truly perplexing.
Others Off to a Fast Start
Matt Chavez is not the only former American Association alum off to a fast start in the Atlantic League. Former Gary Southshore RailCat Frank Martinez is eighth in the league in batting at .381, and former Kansas City T-Bone shortshop Vladimir Frias is hitting .279 with 10 runs scored. Former St. Paul Saints ace Mark Hamburger is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 2 starts for New Britain, and former Lincoln Saltdogs hurler Matt Larkins has a 4.50 ERA in two starts, striking out 10 in 11.2 innings pitched.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
American Association Daily News
The Cleburne Railroaders officially announced the signing of former Major League great Rafael Palmeiro and his son Patrick…The Lincoln Saltdogs signed OF Joe Moran…The Winnipeg Goldeyes acquired RHP Alex Boshers from Southern Maryland (Atlantic League). Boshers has starred for the Wichita Wingnuts the two last seasons, winning 12 games in 2016 and 11 last year. The Goldeyes rotation is as formidable as any in the league…The Sioux City Explorers added IF David Kerian. Kerian was in the Washington Nationals system until 2017 when he joined Windy City (Frontier League). The infielder hit .265 in 38 games last season…The Gary Southshore RailCats added two players to their roster. OF Dale Carey was with the Nationals system the last four seasons. He hit .229 in 67 games at High-A Potomac last season. IF Jimmy Norris last played for the Laredo Lemurs in 2016, where he hit .148 in 35 games.
Join Kevin Luckow and Robert Pannier for This Week in the Association.
By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA