The Sprayberry senior, who maintained a .573 batting average this spring, was named Gatorade Georgia Baseball Player of the Year on Tuesday. He became the second Yellow Jacket player to get the award after future major league pitcher Kris Benson claimed the honor it in 1993.
Chavis joins Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Roy Halladay, Derek Lee David Price and John Lester among past recipients of the Gatorade award in their respective states. The award is given to athletes who excel in their respective sport, as well as in academic achievement and leadership on and off the field.
“This is one of the better awards that I’ve won,” said Chavis, who helped lead Sprayberry to the Region 7AAAAA title this season. “Obviously, it’s a big accomplishment. Any time you win a player of the year award is huge, but winning for the whole state, and it being Gatorade, that’s a huge deal and a great honor.”
The 6-foot, 205-pound Chavis has signed with Clemson, but he is being projected by many sources as a first-round pick in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft.
In fact, Chavis’ prospects are so strong, he has been invited to attend the draft at MLB Network’s Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J. MLB.com’s most recent mock draft has Chavis being selected 32nd overall by his hometown Atlanta Braves.
It’s Chavis’ commanding bat that’s making him a high commodity among professional scouts. He belted 13 home runs this year with 39 RBIs and 30 runs scored.
“I don’t want to get set on one thing, just in case things don’t go my way,” Chavis said. “You never know how things are going to happen. But I will be watching the draft from Studio 42, and I’ll be looking forward to that.”
Chavis is also a Perfect Game All-American, ranked No. 12 in the nation with had a 1.183 slugging percentage.
What Chavis may lack in height, he makes up for in muscle. His stocky frame and strong legs help generate power.
Rarely did opposing teams like pitching to Chavis this season. He was batting .700 after his first 30 at-bats and still managed to keep his average above the .500 mark.
But Chavis’ 2014 had a bitter-sweet ending. East Paulding upset the Yellow Jackets in three games in the first round of the Class AAAAA state tournament. Though Chavis hit two solo home runs in the deciding game to put Sprayberry in front, East Paulding rallied to win.
“This was by far the best team of my career, and it was a great team to go out on,” Chavis said. “We had the talent. We should have won that (third) game, but that’s just baseball.”