Andres Chaparro could be an underrated minor league pick-up

The Arizona Diamondbacks recently signed corner infielder Andres Chaparro to a minor league deal, and it could prove to be an underrated move.
Feb 26, 2023; Dunedin, Florida, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Andres Chaparro (87) attempts to
Feb 26, 2023; Dunedin, Florida, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Andres Chaparro (87) attempts to / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks recently signed an interesting minor league player, Andres Chaparro, to a non-guaranteed deal. Chaparro was a former New York Yankees prospect who hit minor league free agency following the 2023 season. Chaparro is certainly an interesting pick-up. But he’s hit well throughout the minor leagues and could be a sneaky signing.

Chaparro’s 2023 season wasn’t all that impressive. He only hit .247/.331/.444 with a .347 wOBA in the hitter-friendly international league. The only number of his triple-slash that wasn’t below average was his .444 SLG%. Overall on the season, Chaparro had just a 90 wRC+ once, adjusting for the rest of the league. Both Chaparro’s strikeout rate of 21.8% and 10.8% were about average.

However, the corner infielder put his name on the map after his astounding 2022 season. While he only had 292 plate appearances, Chaparro batted .296/.370/.592 with a .414 wOBA and 158 wRC+. Chaparro had a respectable 8.6% walk rate and 19.9% strikeout rate, but hit for a ton of power with an ISO just a shade under .300 at .296. He went yard 20 times in less than 300 plate appearances. If Chaparro received 650 plate appearances, which would roughly be the equivalent of being a regular batter for 150 games, he would have hit 45 home runs.

According to FanGraphs, Chapparo’s best position is in the batter’s box. He’s split his time between third base and first base, but he’s not considered even an average defender at either position. Because of his defensive limitations, he’s been bumped down on the Yankees’ depth chart. But his bat may play enough to be a viable part-timer.

Chapparo may not push Christian Walker off first base or the newly acquired Eugenio Suarez off third base. But I could see him being in the running as a bench corner infield/DH role. As of right now, the D-Backs’ best bench 1B/3B/DH options include Emmanuel Rivera, Pavin Smith, and Jace Peterson. Smith has a minor league option remaining, and coming off a season with a wRC+ of just 81, he’s far from guaranteed a roster spot. Rivera may have had solid defense at third base but was also poor with the bat, with an 83 wRC+. Peterson does come with more utility and was better in 2021-2022 than either Rivera or Smith, but he had the worst 2023 season with a wRC+ of just 74.

Chapparo is definitely an interesting pick-up by the Diamondbacks. He may finally have a shot to be on a Major League team after toiling in the NY Yankees system for the last few years. I’m not here to argue that Chappy is the next Paul Goldschmidt, but could he be a solid bench/platoon bat vs LHP? At the very least, I definitely think he has a higher offensive ceiling than any of Rivera, Peterson, or Smith.