The New York Yankees shortstop competition appears to be down to two men and thankfully neither of those two are Isiah Kiner-Falefa. New York has seemingly moved on from the idea of IKF at short considering in the last eight Spring Training games, IKF hasn’t started at short once.
With that, the battle is down to the Yankees top prospect Anthony Volpe and stud shortstop Oswald Peraza. Entering camp, Peraza was the odds-on favorite to be the Yanks shortstop to start the year. He came up last year and showed tremendous defensively ability and swung the bat really well to the tune of a .306 batting average.
He hit a homer yesterday, but to this point, he hasn’t swung the bat well this spring. His batting average is right at .200 thus far, granted, he’s only had 20 plate appearances. His competition on the other hand, has been tearing the cover off the baseball while flashing his glove at short.
Anthony Volpe is hitting .321 in 28 plate appearances with two homers and three stolen bases. His OPS is 1.103 so far this spring and he’s shown the world why he’s New York’s top prospect. For him to win the SS battle, he was going to need a Herculean effort with the other guys struggling a bit. That’s exactly what has happened.
Yankees may have never given Volpe a true chance at SS
Despite the stellar Spring Training, Anthony Volpe still appears to be Triple-A bound if you read the tea leaves. Despite Aaron Boone and Aaron Judge’s glowing remarks regarding Volpe, Hal Steinbrenner came out with caution today reminding everyone that this is just Spring Training and New York in the regular season is another ballgame.
You can’t expect Hal to come out and say one way or the other, but to me, the comment foreshadows what is coming. Over the past few days I’ve asked around and virtually nobody believes that Anthony Volpe is going to be the shortstop on Opening Day despite clearly winning the head-to-head competition this spring.
At this point, the only way I see him starting over Peraza is if Peraza gets hurt before the season starts. With that being the case, it’s not hard to draw the conclusion that Volpe never had a real shot to begin with regardless of what Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone said.
That said, could Volpe still make the roster and not play shortstop? That could certainly come into play if New York ends up attempting a trade involving Gleyber Torres. Of course, a Torres trade could just open the door for DJ LeMahieu to take over second full time, but it could also open the door to Volpe playing there with LeMahieu flexing around the infield in a utility role.
We still have a little time to sort this out, but my gut tells me that Volpe will be in Scranton to start the season as of now. The situation is fluid, but the writing appears on the wall unless something changes.