Yankees: 2 scouts pick apart Anthony Volpe’s hardships

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Jun 9, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe (11) reacts after popping out against the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have faced a challenging period, with several veterans failing to meet expectations and some young prospects hitting developmental stumbling blocks. The focus here is on 22-year-old rookie Anthony Volpe, whose struggles have been causing concern.

Volpe’s Performance: The Good and the Bad

There are bright spots in Volpe’s performance worth highlighting. He’s managed to hit 10 home runs this season, contributing 28 RBIs and stealing 15 bases, a team-high. His prowess on the base paths is commendable, but he’s got a .273 on-base percentage (OBP) and a disappointing .196 batting average, reflecting a wRC+ of just 77. His strikeout rate is an unimpressive 30.2%, while his walk rate is 9.4%.

Volpe’s real strength lies in his exceptional plate discipline and his ability to fend off pitches, maintaining a reasonable on-base rate. He finished with a .348 OBP in Double-A, which soared in the final two months of his tenure. However, letting Volpe develop at the MLB level may have been a misstep, given his erratic performance.

Understanding Volpe’s Struggles

Jon Heyman of the New York Post recently sought input from several scouts about Volpe’s declining statistics and his struggles.

One scout noted, “He’s going away from what made him special — getting on base, battling, tough at-bats. Now it’s three strikes and sit down. That’s not his game. He swings out of his [behind] every pitch, even with two strikes.”

The Yankees’ hitting model emphasizes power, trading off strikeouts for home runs. It seems Volpe is trying to conform to this model despite possessing a different skill set that revolves around contact and resilience at-bats.

A second scout suggested Volpe needs to spend time in Triple-A to regain his footing and correct his fundamentals. Observers and social media analysts have noticed his early-opening hips, which prevent him from hitting pitches on the outside of the strike zone. The scout added, “He’s going to have to relearn how to hit the ball up, and relearn how to hit the ball away. His hips are opening early, and he’s swinging uphill.”

Navigating Through the Challenge

If the Yankees choose to demote Volpe, Oswald Peraza would likely replace him, a move that could potentially demoralize the struggling youngster.

Manager Aaron Boone has been a vocal supporter of Volpe, pushing for his promotion after a robust spring training performance. But with his confidence in Volpe now wavering and the Yankees pledging a long leash that seems to be impeding their winning capacity, the course ahead is unclear.

Ultimately, one can only hope Volpe finds a way to rectify the apparent issues plaguing his fundamentals, but it doesn’t seem like the Yankees are doing much to assist him in this process.

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