Typically a target of scorn for Yankees fans, The Athletic's prospect expert Keith Law briefly won them back this month by showering Anthony Volpe with adoration, proclaiming him a valid reason to pass on free agent shortstops in both 2021 and 2022. He also ranked the Yankees' farm well above the Red Sox, making for a bit of gloating before the season actually gets underway.
Unfortunately, we said "briefly won them back" because Law got himself into a bit of hot water with one of the team's prospects at the back end of his Top 20 column.
Slugging third baseman Andres Chaparro surprisingly remained in the Yankees' system this offseason after the Bombers kept him unprotected ahead of the Rule 5 Draft. He escaped rivals' claims, which is probably a good thing, considering the 23-year-old possesses some of the best hard-hit metrics in the system -- and the minors. Chaparro reached rarefied air with a 117 MPH double in the 2021 Arizona Fall League, a metric only topped by 45 MLB outcomes that season (25 of which were produced by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton).
Chaparro will be showing off his talents as a non-roster invitee at this year's spring training, but Law didn't have many compliments to pay him in his recent scouting report, which got personal in nature:
"Andres Chaparro can hit and has plus power, but he’s at least 50 pounds over his listed weight — he’s just too big to be anything but a designated hitter and I worry about anyone that size staying healthy even over the medium term."- Keith Law
Needless to say, Chaparro responded, opening up a question to his followers and extending an olive branch.
Prospect expert Keith Law target of Yankees prospect Andres Chaparro's ire
Chaparro did deal with injury last season, and is well aware his unorthodox size and limited defensive capabilities are keeping him off most Top 30 lists this offseason.
Still, the decreasing strikeouts and increasing power deserve respect, no matter what body type he brings to the diamond. Chaparro mashed 20 bombs in 260 at-bats last season, reaching a .962 OPS. Per Empire Sports Media, he was the only player at the Double-A level who paired an Isolated Power mark over .300 with a strikeout percentage under 20% while batting over 200 times.
Chaparro's tools haven't drawn enough league-wide attention yet, and that's probably the way the Yankees like it, considering they were able to keep their secret weapon unprotected this winter. Hopefully, by midway through the 2023 season, that publicity both increases and changes in tone from what Law wrote, which drew an unwanted response from the third-sacker.