PHOTO CREDIT: EMILIE LEIVIAN/WICHITA WINGNUTS
DURHAM, N.C.- Wichita Wingnuts INF Matt Chavez is having one of the American Association’s best individual seasons at the plate, and it has come in his first full year of professional baseball. For his efforts, Chavez has been named the American Association’s Rookie of the Year. The vote was conducted among league field managers and media representatives from all 12 clubs.
He is hitting .353 on the season, currently tied with teammate Harrison Kain for the league batting lead. Chavez has collected 21 doubles, 15 home runs and 60 RBI.
Chavez has recorded 29 multi-hit games over the 2016 season, highlighted by three games with multiple home runs. He hit two home runs in a 4-1 road win over the Lincoln Saltdogs on August 6, as well as in a 16-0 home win against the Texas AirHogs on August 28 and most recently in an 8-3 home win over the Joplin Blasters on August 31. The August 28 game was one of three four-hit games for Chavez in 2016, joining two contests against the Joplin Blasters. In a July 24 game at Joplin, Chavez was 4-for-4 with two doubles and a home run, driving in four as the Wingnuts won 10-2. He had previously gone 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in a 19-10 slugfest lost to the Blasters on May 24.
Chavez has previously been honored with the American Association’s Pointstreak Player of the Week award for the week ending July 24. He hit .520 over the course of the week, collecting four doubles, two home runs and nine RBI. He followed that up by receiving the American Association’s Rawlings Player of the Month award for August, a month in which he hit .362 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 26 RBI. He racked up 13 multi-hit games in August alone, including all three of his multi-homer games.
Chavez played parts of both 2014 and 2015 in affiliated baseball. He played in 10 games with the Augusta GreenJackets, the Class A Affiliate of the San Francisco Giants in 2014, also playing for short stints in the Frontier League, Pacific Association and United League that season. Chavez was back in the Pacific Association in 2015 for 66 games, but earned the chance to play in the San Diego Padres’ system at season’s end. In 15 games with the Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore Storm, Chavez hit .293 with four doubles, three home runs and eight RBI. Prior to his professional career, Chavez played for four seasons at the University of San Francisco. He was a 44th-round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2010, but did not sign.
The Wingnuts, winners of their sixth straight division title, continue their final road series at the Laredo Lemurs tonight at 7:05 p.m. Central time.