PAWTUCKET — Having accomplished almost everything that he could at the Double-A level with the Portland SeaDogs, C.J. Chatham has taken the next step on his hopeful journey to the major leagues by joining the Pawtucket Red Sox.
“No, probably not everything, but I think that I did a good job helping the team win,” Chatham said in the McCoy Stadium clubhouse Wednesday before his second game with the PawSox where he started at shortstop and batted second for the second straight game.
Chatham uncorked his first Triple-A hit, a single in contributing to a three-run first inning for the PawSox and then lofted an RBI sacrifice fly in the second inning to build a 4-1 lead, but the Norfolk Tide pulled out a 5-4 win in 10 innings.
Chatham was the designated runner at second base for Pawtucket in the 10th under IL tiebreaker rules, but the 14th strikeout rung up by Norfolk pitchers on the night and a double play ended the game.
Chatham, a second-round draft pick by Boston out of Florida Atlantic University in 2016 as the 51st player taken overall, is the ninth-ranked prospect in the Red Sox’ organization.
Chatham led the Eastern League in hitting with a .297 average and 104 hits (26 doubles) in 90 games with Portland. Chatham sported a healthy .333 on-base percentage and a .403 slugging percentage while driving in 36 runs.
“I think I’ve prepared myself for this level, I even played second base (eight games with Portland),” Chatham said. “I think that I did a good job to prove myself.”
Recruited out of high school as a left fielder, Chatham even pitched for two years at Florida Atlantic before transferring to being the everyday shortstop. From his days growing up in Florida to his climb to the PawSox, Chatham has played virtually every position except catcher.
That versatility may suit him well for a MLB role, but his way to Boston is blocked at third base by Rafael Devers, at shortstop by Xander Bogaerts and at second base by Michael Chavis at the moment. Another PawSox teammate, Bobby Dalbec, who is a third baseman by trade, is ranked the No. 3 prospect in the Red Sox organization and is being groomed as a first baseman.
Or like Dalbec, Chatham could be just proving his value to MLB teams as trade bait for Boston.
“I think that I’m a versatile player, that I can play anywhere,” Chatham said. “I can play the outfield, I can play the infield.”
Chatham went 0-for-4 in his PawSox’ debut Tuesday night with two strikeouts, but made a spectacular diving catch to end the seventh inning.
Chatham spent the summer of 2015 playing with Bourne in the Cape Cod League then batted .314 at Class-A Salem and Greenville last year with 137 hits.
“I just try to put the ball in play — the chances are greater for getting hits,” Chatham said. “You just want to stay down, drive them (pitches) and stay through (with his swing).”
Chatham had 32 multi-hit games with Portland, including a season-high seven-game hitting streak and a 10-game on-base streak.
“The more pitches that you see, the better it is to work on pitch selection, getting better at bats,” he said.
Chatham had 32 multi-hit games with Portland to go with a season-best seven-game hitting streak and a 10-game on-base streak.
“I’m putting the barrel (of the bat) on he ball,” he said.
The 6-foot-4 Chatham is at home at shortstop, but could very well end up at third base. There are not many 6-foot-4 second basemen.
“I think that it’s good to be versatile, the more places that you can play, the more value that you have,” Chatham said. “Why not? Just go out there and do it.”
“I understand baseball is a business. That’s all beyond my control, I’m just one step closer. I just need to continue to do what I’m doing.
“I love the Red Sox,” he added. “They’ve given me the opportunity to play and get better. I just need to continue to do what I’m doing. I don’t put any pressure on myself, whatever happens, happens.”
PawSox starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez allowed seven hits through three innings. He surrendered a two-out, two-run HR to Pawtucket native Mason Williams in a three-run Norfolk third inning, then the game-tying (at 4-4) run when the next two Tides batters singled. The Tides took the lead for the first time, plating the game-wining run in the 10th as designated runner Engelb Vielma scored on a bases loaded walk issued by PawSox reliever Trevor Kelley – the PawSox’ 23rd one-run loss of the season. … The PawSox have lost 23 of their last 31 games at McCoy, their 21-36 home mark being the worst in the IL … The PawSox rank 12th in hitting (.255) and ninth in both HR (140) and stolen bases (64) … RHP Ryan Weber was optioned from Boston and RHP Ted Stankiewicz was placed on the temporary inactive list to make room.