Yankees’ promising first base prospect elects free agency

yankees, andres chaparro
Feb 26, 2023; Dunedin, Florida, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Andres Chaparro (87) attempts to locate a fly ball in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

While New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman stole the headlines on Tuesday afternoon with his emotional tirade speaking with reporters, one smaller piece of news slipped by.

The Yankees have been developing an infield prospect for several years, putting together some impressive numbers in the minor-league system, but he has struggled a bit to find his groove in Triple-A.

Andres Chaparro is the prospect of note, who played 137 games this past season, hitting .247 with a .331 OBP, including 25 homers, 89 RBIs, including a 21.8% strikeout rate and a 10.8% walk rate.

Are the Yankees Giving Up Too Soon on Andres Chaparro?

Clearly, Chaparro saw the writing on the wall, being that the Yankees may utilize Oswald Peraza at third base, and they still have Anthony Rizzo under contract at first base. Chaparro cracking the roster was unlikely, but they may have given up too early on his potential.

Chaparro played 64 games in Double-A back in 2022, hitting .289 with a .369 OBP and .594 slugging rate, including 19 homers, 52 RBIs, a 19.9% strikeout rate, 9.2% walk rate, and 158 wRC+.

There’s reason to believe that Chaparro would’ve developed into a fine player, but given the fact that he was Rule 5 eligible and the Yankees were unlikely to protect him given several rising bats and pitchers, he decided to test his options on the market.

The truth is, he could end up right back where he started, with the Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton team, but another club in need of a power right-handed hitter may see potential and want to give him a chance at the Major League level.

Chaparro played 496.1 innings at first base this past season, picking up three errors and 27 double plays. He was quite efficient, but the Yankees prefer a left-handed hitter at the position, which favors prospect Ben Rice, who won the team’s developmental hitting award this season.

The front office has been cautious about utilizing prospects in the past, but they may have no choice but to rely on several young players in 2024, especially if they want to spend big in free agency or acquire an expensive player, all while keeping costs down.

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