At that age, the senior Sprayberry third baseman remembered having a choice — he was either going to start catching them or let them keep bouncing off his head.
That’s how Chavis was introduced into baseball, and he was in a uniform shortly after learning to walk.
Now, the Yellow Jackets’ third baseman is a Clemson signee, choosing to play for the Tigers over Georgia and Georgia Tech. Nine Baseball’s mock draft also has him going in the top 20 in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft in June.
In regards of what direction he will go once he leaves Sprayberry, he said it’s too early to decide.
“I’ll just wait until everything falls into place,” Chavis said. “It’s all in God’s hands. I’ll be good either way.”
Growing up, Chavis developed a bond with this father on and off the baseball field and was only a matter of time before discovering that he was better suited for hitting baseballs rather than throwing and catching them.
Scouting reports claim Chavis will be one of the top hitters in this year’s draft. Entering last week’s games Chavis was hitting .700 on the season (21-for-30) with five home runs, and the Yellow Jackets (9-4, 6-2) are currently tied for second with defending state champion Pope in Region 7AAAAA. Last year, he led the county in home runs (10), had 34 RBIs and hit .435.
“To me, he’s one of those guys that does everything well,” Sprayberry coach Phil Henderson said.
At 6-feet, Chavis doesn’t have the height of most MLB power hitters but at 200 pounds, he has a stocky frame and strong legs to help generate power. He also benefits from having quick hands.
Most of Chavis’ hits are powerful line drives. Chavis said his priority every time he takes a swing is making sure the ball makes contact with the barrel of the bat.
In becoming a hitter, Chavis gives his dad much of the credit, saying he’s a “genius” when it comes to hitting.
“When we first started working on hitting and everything, the thing he focused on was not to be scared of hitting the ball,” Chavis said of his father. “Don’t let the fear of missing the ball make you swing soft, focus on hitting the ball as hard as you can. He can simplify it. When he explains it, hitting makes sense.”
Last summer, he won the Home Run Challenge at the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego.
As a finalist against sluggers who were 6-2 and taller, Chavis said his chances of winning depended on hitting under the ball to produce a higher flight, along with adding a leg kick to generate more power and torque.
The home run that sealed the win was nearly 300 high as it sailed out of the park. His earlier home runs looked more like line drives that just cleared the fence.
“When people look at me, you wouldn’t think I was a home run hitter,” Chavis said. “But when they watch me swing and see how I go about the game, they can tell how I hit home runs.”
Although Chavis has hit his share of home runs in his career, he doesn’t consider himself a home run hitter. In order to remain a force at the plate, he says a quick prayer before stepping inside the batter’s box to help him relax.
To stay focused, he reminds himself not to swing for the fence. His objective is making sure the ball makes contact with the barrel of the bat. If he’s facing a power pitcher, he said he looks for the above average fastball and adjusts to the off-speed pitches. And when he goes up against off-speed throwers, that’s what he likes to pounce on.
“I look for pitch that is hittable,” Chavis said. “When I see pitch, I try to get good barrel on it and hit hard. I just try to get the barrel on the ball and let results happen.”