If it's ever possible for a FIVE-HOMER WEEK to go under the radar, Yankees slugger Andres Chaparro experienced the phenomenon at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this past week.
The big-league Yankees provided plenty of storylines during their latest Cleveland/Minnesota swing, from Gerrit Cole's dominance to the umpiring crew's obsession with Terry Francona. The minor-league Yankees, at levels below Triple-A, started their seasons more recently and felt fresher; Spencer Jones' breakout and the pitchers' performances stole headlines.
But ... yup. While you might not have been looking, Chaparro got on the board with his first hit of the year on April 8, snapping an 0-for-29 stretch to start the season with a home run to get his average up to .032. Baby steps ... but not for long.
From that moment on, Chaparro went scorched earth, raising his average to .200 in one week's time by hitting .417 with five additional home runs.
Maybe it was his unorthodox profile. Maybe it was injury concerns. But Chaparro's bat seemed big-league ready this offseason, and the scavengers in the Rule 5 Draft seemed likely to select him as a plug-and-play DH option/bench slugger at the very least.
Somehow, the Yankees survived, and Chaparro wasn't swiped. Now, with Giancarlo Stanton on the shelf for the next month and a half (at least), it seems possible that some DH reps have opened with the Bombers for Chaparro if he stays hot (at least, comparably hot).
Yankees prospect Andres Chaparro's big-league future just got clarified
Even with Josh Donaldson's 2023 season looking as unimpressive as his 2022 campaign so far, the Yankees have plenty of alternate directions they can go at the hot corner, with DJ LeMahieu thriving, Gleyber Torres still entrenched at second (somewhat unexpectedly), and Oswald Peraza (temporarily) promoted and (permanently?) moved off short.
With Stanton on the mend, Torres will likely absorb more of those DH reps when Donaldson returns, with Oswaldo Cabrera still targeted for left field, a position he now plays regularly after playing none of it in the minors.
Chaparro's best hope for playing time is that he stays hot while star-of-the-moment Franchy Cordero eventually turns cold (or Donaldson returns, struggles, and finally gets deemphasized).
Let it be known that, following Colten Brewer's DFA, Chaparro's path to the 40-man roster is now a bit easier. He, or anyone else, can be added without the Yankees sacrificing a spot.
In addition to his ridiculous power display this week, Chaparro also gained notoriety for working a top-30 Mets prospect for an 18-pitch walk, which probably made local dads just as happy as any of his six bombs to start the year.
Just over a week ago, Chaparro was ice cold, rendering his spring training power push an afterthought.
Now? He's as scorching as anyone in the Yankees' system, and his keen eye appears more finely-tuned than ever, too. Another couple of weeks of comparable production, and he might just bust down the MLB door, which was recently opened another few cracks.