The Yankees have a super-slugger long-term solution at first base

yankees, andres chaparro
Feb 26, 2023; Dunedin, Florida, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Andres Chaparro (87) waits for the ball as Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Cavan Biggio (8) gets an infield single in the second inning at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez have stolen the headlines for the New York Yankees this spring, but one super slugging prospect has made a name for himself as he expects to start the 2023 season in Triple-A with Scranton.

A name you may not be entirely familiar with, Andres Chaparro has quietly increased his stock over the past few weeks, putting together an extraordinary stat line this spring that justifies a potential promotion in the future.

In fact, there’s an argument to be made he should be considered the Yankees’ long-term solution at first base after Anthony Rizzo‘s two-year contract extension expires. Rizzo signed a two-year, $40 million deal with a 2025 club option, but given his chronic back issue, the Bombers need to be developing his eventual replacement now.

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The Yankees should start to develop Andres Chaparro as a first baseman:

Even if Chaparro doesn’t take over until 2025, his qualities as a hitter can be utilized to supplement injuries from the designated hitter spot. Last season in Double-A, Chaparro hit .289 with a .369 OBP, .594 slugging percentage, 19 homers, and 52 RBIs across 64 games. He hosted a strikeout rate of around 20% with a 9.2% walk rate, logging a 158 wRC+. Based on those metrics, he’s ready to make the jump to the next level.

Chaparro enjoyed a few games worth of experience at first base for the Yanks this spring, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he logged more reps there in the future. He played 122 innings at first across 14 games in Double-A last year but 149.1 and A+ with Hudson Valley back in 2021. He also has experience at third base, where he’s played primarily through his minor league tenure, but they seemingly are starting to transition him to first.

The 6-foot-1 and 200-pound slugger has an awesome frame but may need to work on his flexibility, so a few yoga classes could do the trick to help with those hard-to-reach throws from around the baseball diamond.

Nonetheless, looking at his spring stats in the batter’s box, he hit .321 with a .424 OBP, 1.174 OPS, four homers, nine hits, and 11 RBIs across 28 at-bats. While the sample size is small, his offensive production has carried over from his time in Double-A last year. It will be interesting to see if he can translate to Triple-A over a larger sample size and continue boosting his offensive contributions.

If the Yankees have any injuries and need to fill the DH spot down the line, I wouldn’t be surprised if they called up Chaparro, who somehow managed to escape the Rule 5 draft, having been unprotected. The Yankees will surely protect him moving forward, especially if he continues to develop his defensive game at first base.