Yankees fan favorite who never got his chance is raking with D-Backs Triple-A team

Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day
Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Give the Yankees credit where it's due. Most of the time, when they don't quite believe in a stuck-in-the-middle prospect, they tend to be right. When they put together a trade package for an established deadline piece, the players they surrender rarely come back to bite them (yes, I'm watching Hayden Wesneski, I said "rarely"). Of all the things the Bombers struggle to juggle, knowing when to set prospects free isn't typically one of them.

That said, the Yankees kept a booming bat at the upper levels of their farm system for several seasons in a row after Andrés Chaparro was left unclaimed in the Rule 5 Draft. After New York got a second chance at evaluating him in 2023, Chaparro had his worst season, posting a .775 OPS in his first crack at Triple-A. Add in the middling defense, with which they were not infatuated, and you had a profile that screamed "minor-league free agency," especially with a crowded infield in New York.

Chaparro was finally handed his walking papers this past offseason and ended up in the desert, as the defending NL Champion Arizona Diamondbacks added him to their player pool as a backup option for another "grip it and rip it" slugger, newly acquired third baseman Eugenio Suarez.

Thus far, Chaparro has yet to get a fair big-league shot with the Snakes, either, but his numbers are certainly begging for it; through play over the weekend, he's batting .340 with a 1.034 OPS, nine homers, and 33 RBI.

Yankees never gave Andrés Chaparro a chance. Now, he's dominating with Diamondbacks.

True, the Pacific Coast League is a hitter's haven, with elevations the International League just can't match. But it's not like Chaparro didn't show offensive prowess in the Yankees' system, either. Prior to his backslide, he posted a .962 OPS in 2022, most of it at Double-A Somerset.

Most top prospects who own Double-A are typically able to master the minors' highest level, too. After all, Double-A is often where the highly-thought-of electric arms lurk; Triple-A, on the other hand, is sort of a purgatory, featuring also-ran ex-big leaguers and veterans stuck in stasis.

Chaparro was unable to repeat his Double-A greatness with the bat in the Yankees' system, but is once again emerging as a viable DH threat with Arizona (and thank goodness for that universal DH). Any opportunity he gets will be bittersweet for Yankees fans, but with a heavy emphasis on the "sweet" section.

After all, the Yankees made their thoughts on Chaparro perfectly clear and stacked the infield deck. When Josh Donaldson was flopping and flailing last summer, Chaparro was unfortunately mostly matching him in Scranton. The timing just wasn't right -- but it might be soon.