Andres Chaparro, in his first year in the United States, is seeing significant growth as a player already.

TAMPA, FL – The Yankees signed Andres Chaparro out of Venezuela in July of 2015. Still with braces on his teeth, the 18-year-old third baseman stands 6-foot-1-inch tall at 200 pounds and batted .238 with 14 extra base hits in 50 games in the Dominican Republic last year.

Coming off of his first season with the Yankees in the Dominican Summer League at just 17-years-old, Andres Chaparro wasn’t shy to admit – through the help of a translator – that he wasn’t ecstatic about his performance last season.

“It didn’t go as well as I wanted to, but I learned a lot and worked on some stuff to make myself better for this year,” Chaparro said. “One of the main things I learned was to stick to the process and to be patient. The process will come, but you can’t expect results right away. If you’re working on the right things you’re going to get where you want to be, but you have to be patient and work.”

His positive attitude and work ethic are evident and he admits he’s already starting to see the work translate into results on the field in what is already his first taste of baseball in the United States.

“My hard work has paid off. Little by little I’m getting to where I want to be but the hard work I’ve put in during the offseason and here in Extended Spring Training is starting to pay off.”

Chaparro spoke about some of the things he worked on this offseason to try and improve on coming into the new season.

He mentioned that he worked to try and gain muscle while burning fat during the offseason, and that led to the weight he’s been able to cut since his summer in the Dominican Republic

“I was working on my body, taking care of it and working on my hitting,” he said. “I’ve been working on my preparation and maintaining balance through my whole swing.

That first year of pro ball may have done wonders for Chapparo’s confidence. It seems to have helped him transition comfortably into a life that can sometimes be overwhelming for young players, and learning to slow down the game is a huge hurdle.

“There’s a big difference between how I feel now and how I felt last season.”

One thing that’s been talked about is possibly transitioning Chapparo away from third base to first base or catcher, but with the exception of a few innings at first, he’s mainly been working at third base and that’s where is focus is for now.

Hitting coach Edwar Gonzalez spoke briefly about what he’s seen from Chaparro so far in Extended Spring Training, his improvements and his expectations.

“[Chapparo’s biggest improvement is] his ability to impact the ball,” Gonzales said.  “Last year you saw him get the barrel to the ball, and now he’s starting to impact the ball more consistently so we’re seeing more home runs and doubles out of him. But that was wasn’t a concern of ours, him not being able to do that, it was just a matter of time. He’s a smart kid and he’s putting in the right work in to improve.”

“He’s the same kid, he works hard, he goes about his business the right way and he’s working on the right things but it’s a process. We can’t expect these 16 and 17-year-old kids to look like the guys we see in the big leagues. It’s part of the process, he’s doing everything he can and he will continue to do everything he can to keep improving so I’m excited to see what he can do this year. He can get much better, but he’s very good for his age right now.”

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