Monday, April 27, 2015

Drive Me to the Ballpark

While opening day in the majors is a big deal, for sure, I'm even more excited with the start of minor league baseball, the Greenville Drive, in particular. The Drive, of the South Atlantic League, are the low A affiliates of the Red Sox. Since I moved to the Greenville area I've found myself following the Red Sox system pretty closely, including the major league team. While I've been an Orioles and Braves fan most of my life, I've become a fan of certain Red Sox players as well as they've moved through the minor league system.

The Drive are supposed to have a good group this year if you follow what the experts are saying. Several of the Red Sox top prospects play for the Drive, and one more, Yoan Moncada, should be joining the team in the early part of the season. He could be the best of the group.

Two of the top prospects on the team were picked in the first round of the 2014 draft. Third-baseman Michael Chavis, pick 26, is 9th on's list, while right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech, the 33rd pick, is 10th. Rafael Devers, another third-baseman and other best hitting prospect for the Drive, is 5th on the list. Devers and Chavis have been alternating between playing 3B and DH so they both get some work in the field. Nick Longhi is off to a great start to the season, as well, a 30th round selection in 2013.

April 9th couldn't get here soon enough. The Drive started off the season at home against the Augusta Greenjackets, affiliates of the Giants.

Rafael Devers started off the scoring with a sac-fly in the 3rd, while Chavis homered in the 7th. And then in the bottom of the 9th inning he broke a 2-2 tie and smacked a double off the mini-Green Monster to win the game for the Drive 3-2. Chavis has struggled a bit since that game, as he's batting just 5-30 on the season, but if I had to bet I'd say he's going to have a good career.

Recently I've picked up some cards of new Drive players and ones from last year's team.

The first is Michael Kopech's Bowman Draft card from 2014. He's off to a great start with a 1-1 records, 1.98 era and 11 strikeouts to just 2 walks in Greenville. Trey Ball was picked 7th overall by the Red Sox in 2013. After spending 2014 in Greenville he's moved up to A-Advanced Salem this year. So far he's had one great start, one ok start, and one poor start after a strong second half in 2014.

Here's the first card I've added of Michael Chavis. As mentioned above, I think this is a guy to keep an eye on as he progresses through the minor leagues.

Great way to start the season. Glad you're back, baseball.

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