Regrettably, Volpe’s performance has dwindled significantly over the past few weeks, and he currently holds a disappointing .187 batting average and a .261 OBP.
As a result, the Yankees may start to restrict his playing opportunities, excluding him from Sunday night’s lineup.
This could have been a decision driven by the need for rest, but given the Yankees’ desperate requirement for offense and Volpe’s lack of confidence and purpose at the plate, it might be time for a shakeup.
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The Yankees could shake things up at shortstop:
Perhaps it’s time for manager Aaron Boone to reignite the competition for the shortstop position between Volpe and Oswald Peraza. Given that they chose a 21-year-old who hadn’t even completed half a season in Triple-A over the more experienced Peraza, it seems only fair to reintroduce him into the fray.
Peraza has been outstanding at the Triple-A level, boasting a .311 batting average and a .383 OBP, along with 10 home runs over 28 games. With a 15.8% strikeout rate, a 6.0% walk rate, and a 142 wRC+, his performance has been solid. His .259 average and .368 OBP over 30 MLB games certainly suggest his capability at the MLB level.
Truth be told, Volpe thrives in the face of competition. Reigniting the contest for the shortstop role might be the motivational push he needs to regain his form.
In Sunday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox, Volpe’s failed attempt to invigorate the game underscored his struggle, as he struck out on a wayward slider and nearly expressed his frustration by slamming his bat down.
There comes a point when Boone must experiment with new strategies, and Peraza could potentially stimulate the mental strength and discipline that were evident during spring training.
At the very least, the Yankees can count on Peraza’s superior defensive play, guaranteeing them some benefit. However, the changes may not stop at shortstop. By rotating both players at second base with Gleyber Torres, who has made several careless errors this season, they might address concerns about his effort.
However, removing Gleyber’s bat from the lineup right now is inadvisable.
As the trade deadline approaches, it’s worth considering Peraza and Torres as potential trade candidates. The Yankees have heavily invested in Volpe, focusing on his growth and development in the MLB. Boone passionately advocated for the young prospect to essentially bypass Triple-A and gain experience directly in the major leagues, but this may have been a hasty decision.
If the Yankees choose not to reassign Volpe to the minor leagues to continue his development, they should at least instigate a change and spur a competitive environment to coax the best out of him.