NEW JERSEY — The Bronx Bombers Triple-A prospects, Andrés Chaparro and Elijah Dunham, could be knocking on the door steps of the Yankees MLB roster in the near future. They’ve both made their presence felt in Scranton with the RailRiders this season.
To start off, Chaparro is a 24-year old third baseman and first baseman from El Vigia, Venezuela. Dunham, who is also 24, born in Evansville, Indiana, can play all three outfield positions.
Andrés Chaparro – Player Profile
Chaparro is currently not ranked among the Yankees’ top 30 Prospects, but you wouldn’t know that based on how he swings the bat. The Venezuelan native is on fire after an 0-for-27 start, and now has 10 home runs, 27 RBI and an OPS of .944 in 32 games this year.
Additionally, he had his best game of the season on Tuesday, May 9, going 5-5 with a grand slam against the Kansas City Royals Triple-A affiliate Omaha Storm Chasers. To finish the night, Chapparo was a triple shy of the cycle.
When asked about the most rewarding part of his Triple-A experience, he said: “Being able to overcome the slump and the difficulties of his slow start and being where he is now.”
Chapparo is on a seven-game hitting streak and is 13-for-25 during this span. In the last seven games, he has had two home runs, four doubles, one triple with five walks and just one strikeout.
Dating back to the start of February, Chaparro was able to experience a taste of the big leagues in Spring Training when he got invited to big league camp, and made a strong impression in the Spring with five home runs, 12 RBI and an OPS of 1.135 in 37 at-bats.
— Latino Sports (@LatinoSports) February 23, 2023
On a similar note, Chapparo enjoyed practicing with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson. He took advantage of all the time he had with them and felt blessed to get the opportunity to attend big league camp.
He reflected on what it would be like to get the call-up to the Yankees:
“It’s always been my dream. I would be excited because I’ve been fighting for it for a long time.”
Last season, Chaparro won a championship with the Yankees Double-A affiliate, the Somerset Patriots and played a key part, leading the team with a slugging percentage of .594 and an OPS of .963. He earned his call up to Triple-A and with the promotion, he’s noticed the difference in the pitching.
“Triple-A pitchers have better control and command and attack weaknesses more while Double-A pitchers just throw their best stuff the majority of the time,” Chaparro said.
All together, his bat is in a great place, but he knows he still needs to work on his defense and improve his overall game.
On defense, Chaparro has played 19 games at third base this season and 12 at first base. In Spring Training, the Yankees had him exclusively playing first base, but, in the long run, he could profile as a first baseman or designated hitter once given the opportunity at the next level.
In my view, he has a similar build to his fellow countrymen and Venezuelan idol Miguel Cabrera, a five-time recipient of the American League LatinoMVP Award. Cabrera also started out at third base and moved to first base later in his career.
Uniquely enough, Chaparro’s favorite current MLB third basemen are San Diego Padres Manny Machado (2022 NL LatinoMVP), St. Louis Cardinals Nolan Arenado (2017 NL LatinoMVP) and fellow Yankee D.J. LeMahieu.
With the Yankees’ primary designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (2014 NL LatinoMVP) still being sidelined for several more weeks, it’s possible that there could be an opening for Chaparro. He has earned the call-up with his play, but the problem is that the Yankees roster is very cluttered. Chaparro also still has to be added to the 40-man roster. Could he get the call to the Bronx in the near future?
Elijah Dunham – Player Profile
The 24-year-old outfielder Elijah Dunham, ranked 16th in the Yankees farm system, has made an impact to start off his 2023 campaign.
Like Chaparro, Dunham was also part of the Somerset Patriots team last season and he said winning the championship was the highlight of his baseball career. He thought it was special because he won it with a bunch of guys he signed with when he was drafted by the Yankees and loved how they stayed together all year to accomplish the ultimate goal.
Last season, he had 17 home runs, 63 RBI and 37 stolen bases with an OPS of .796.
Dunham started this season in Triple-A with the Scranton RailRiders and also got an invite to Spring Training. On the year, he has two home runs, six RBI and five stolen bases with an OPS of .730 in 106 at-bats.
Additionally, he has shown to be a well-rounded player hitting for power, stealing bases and playing great defense.
— SWB RailRiders (@swbrailriders) May 9, 2023
Earlier in the season he made a nice diving catch in center field, and later talked about what it would take to get his game to the next level:
“Staying consistent with my bat if I continue to show that I know how to hit and compete at the plate and play solid d at the corner outfield.”
Dunham believes that he can get the call one day, but at the same time knows that it’s currently out of his control. I asked him what his reaction would be if he did get the call-up to the Yankees one day:
“I don’t know what it’s going to be like. I’ve been dreaming of that moment my entire life”, Dunahm said. “I’d probably cry honestly, but hopefully, I get that opportunity to cry”
BP HR from Elijah Dunham on the outside field. pic.twitter.com/RZ1IusdZ7x
— Julian Guilarte (@JulianGuilarte1) February 21, 2023
Scranton’s outfield has gained some MLB experience with Franchy Cordero getting sent back down and the addition of Kole Calhoun. Dunham has enjoyed learning from them in the past week plus and talked about the experience:
“Getting to do the outfield work and get in the cages together. Kole Calhoun is almost a 10-year big leaguer with service time getting to pick up on everything he does can help me tremendously. That’s the ideal dream for every player to play in the bigs and play a long career.”
If Aaron Hicks’ hip injury lands him on the injured list, that could open the door for Dunham to get called up. Even If it doesn’t happen immediately, he has a good chance to get called up at some point this season.
CollectibleXchange Autograph Signing
I asked Frank Luna and got his thoughts on the autograph signing event he put together courtesy of CollectibleXchange:
“There is a market for minor league baseball players to sign autographs for public appearances. There was a mob here from the community that is hungry to meet future Yankees. I am excited to bring an event to the neighborhood in the shadow of Yankee Stadium.”
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