When the Red Sox asked Chad De La Guerra to spend a bit of time at shortstop near the end of spring training in 2017, he didn’t think much of it.
He had spent a bit of time at the position—10 starts—his first two seasons after being taken as a Grand Canyon (Ariz.) senior in the 17th round of the 2015 draft, but it seemed like almost an afterthought for a player who played primarily second base.
But De La Guerra made a couple of strong plays at the position just before the start of the season, at a time when an opening existed for a shortstop at high Class A Salem. Suddenly, his development track changed.
“They put me over there the last week of spring training,” said De La Guerra, 25. “I made a couple of plays. They (said), ‘We’re going to give you a shot over there.’
“Defensively, that was big for me.”
De La Guerra, who barely played shortstop in high school or college, suddenly found his way to the position. His solid defensive work there—in conjunction with a .283/.361/.437 batting line in 110 games between Salem and Double-A Portland—altered his profile.
While the lefthanded-hitting De La Guerra is viewed as being a solid or better defender at second base, the addition of shortstop and possibly third base puts him on stronger footing for a potential utility role in the big leagues. It also earned him an invitation to big league camp.
At the plate, De La Guerra shows quick hands that allow him to make firm contact with pitches in different parts of the strike zone. The overall package is one that has him on Boston’s big league depth chart.
“He has a great swing. He can drive the ball to all fields. I think he’s coming along pretty well,” said Carlos Febles, who managed De La Guerra at Portland in 2017. “He’s a guy who could come into the big leagues and play a day or two at short, second or third base.”
• Third baseman Michael Chavis suffered a mild oblique strain in February that will limit his opportunities in big league camp this year.