Somerset Patriots' Andres Chaparro turning heads in Spring Training

Tampa, FL -- One of the best-kept secret weapons in the Yankees' farm system that continues to impress in Spring Training is Andres Chaparro. Wearing number 87 for the Yankees, Andres has been forcing his way into conversations, such as Tuesday when he hit his fourth home run of the spring against Toronto. It was not just any homer. It was a two-out, three-run shot, and as Yankees' beat writer Bryan Hoch described, "He demolished the ball and dented top left of the batter's eye in center field". His fourth home run was an absolute blast that registered at 432 feet and 107 MPH off the bat. Just a couple of days before, he hit a grand slam deep to left field against the Pirates.  During this past month, we are seeing glimpses of greatness and potential.

Chaparro was born in Venezuela and proudly represents his country as the Venezuela flag is worn proudly on his shin guard with yellow, blue and red with an arc of eight white five-pointed stars centered on the blue band of the flag. These eight stars represent and honor each province in Venezuela. You also see the writing "Chappy" and "God" across his elbow guard. A god-like swing is what fans have seen thus far.

I was fortunate to have met Chaparro on a Zoom call where we interviewed him and he talked about his journey up until now.  He grew up in a village in Venezuela where scouts don't normally come to watch you play. He was away from his family at the age of 14, a long way from home. His family made sure he was placed in a baseball academy where he prepared and trained and where he learned his mechanics and fundamentals. He had an enormous support system.  I asked what inspired him to play, He said "Lo llevo en mi sangre",  he carries it in his blood. I asked what he felt when the Yankees didn't protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He explained that he took it calmly, but his focus remained on working hard and staying focused, which was his key this off-season, and it shows. We talked about Anthony Volpe and how playing with Volpe was an exceptional experience. He said Volpe is a great human being and his presence makes every team member around him better.

Chaparro has certainly turned heads this spring, recording absolutely impressive numbers: 4 HR, 11 RBI, .333/.419/.778 slash-line and 1.197 OPS over 27 at-bat appearances. The kid is hot and making his presence known in camp amongst other prospects this spring, such as Volpe and Jasson Dominguez, players who helped the Somerset Patriots gain the Eastern League Championship. Chappy recorded two home runs in that series.

His stats in the minors are incredible, with 20 home runs, 55 RBI's and an OPS over .960. In one postseason game last season, Chappy hit the game-tying hit with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Chaparro is shown remarkable clutch hitting and power this spring.

Hal Steinbrenner on prospects: "We knew it was going to be exciting. It's just great to see all of our young kids playing well, including Dominguez. The reality is, when we've got young prospects are ready and deserving of a chance, they're gonna get it, just like Judge did all those years ago."

When the MLB Prospect Rankings were released, it is absolutely shocking that Chaparro was never ranked Top 30. Surely, he is making a name for himself in Yankee Camp.  There could have been a world where Chaparro was picked up by another team during the Rule 5 Draft. Aren't we lucky that we got to witness Chappy's ability before any other Major League Team?

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