Yankees’ 22-year-old shortstop is making significant progress

mlb: new york yankees at tampa bay rays, anthony volpe
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Yankees integrate a significant number of prospects into their lineup for the closing month of the 2023 regular season, one rookie has already been consistently in the mix: Anthony Volpe. While names like Oswald Peraza have made brief appearances, Volpe has been a constant fixture in the Yankees’ batting order. Demonstrating a resilient health record, Volpe has pieced together an encouraging rookie season.

Parsing Volpe’s Rookie Numbers: A Mixed Bag

Critics might be quick to point out that Volpe’s numbers seem underwhelming. Indeed, he’s posting a .216 batting average with a .293 OBP, alongside 19 home runs and 54 RBIs over 486 plate appearances. However, a closer look reveals that he’s just one home run short of a 20-20 season, which would mean achieving 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases.

Room for Improvement: Strikeout Rates and More

There are certainly areas Volpe needs to refine—specifically his strikeout rate of 27.4% and his walk rate of 9.1%. With a weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of 92 and a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 1.9, Volpe himself acknowledges that his rookie season is just a stepping stone for greater achievements.

Age and Experience: Factors Not to Be Ignored

Many are skeptical about Volpe’s future potential. However, it’s crucial to remember that he’s only 22 years old and essentially leapt over the Triple-A level to join the big leagues. The experience gained this season will be invaluable for his career trajectory.

Volpe vs. Correa: A Comparative Lens

Let’s put things in perspective. Carlos Correa, who inked a six-year, $200 million contract with the Minnesota Twins, has a .224 batting average with a .307 OBP, including 16 home runs and 57 RBIs. Volpe outshines him in home runs and defensive stats. While Correa has zero defensive runs saved and one out above average, Volpe boasts 14 defensive runs saved and three outs above average.

Defensive Prowess: Is Second Base Really Necessary?

While some argue that Volpe should transition to second base, his defensive stats make a compelling case for him as a shortstop. He’s committed 12 errors and holds a .974 fielding percentage across 1,109 innings, but the goal is that those mistakes become fewer and farther between.

Historic Metrics: Setting Records as a Yankee Shortstop

When it comes to defensive runs saved, Volpe is already making history as a Yankee shortstop, marking the highest metric in that specific category.

A Positive Outlook Amidst Challenges

Despite some areas of concern, Volpe has delivered some brilliant plays, and his future looks promising. Sure, it’s easy to paint a gloomy picture, but his upward trajectory provides ample reason for optimism.

Navigating the Yankees’ Off-Season: Financial Challenges and Prospects

The off-season promises to be a challenging period for the Yankees, especially given the financial constraints. The team could potentially promote several prospects like Jasson Dominguez, Austin Wells, Oswald Peraza, and Everson Pereira. While ideally, the Yankees would want a more experienced team for the 2024 season, a younger roster may be the reality they have to embrace.

Steinbrenner and Cashman: A Financial Puzzle to Solve

As the Yankees work on their game plan, there’s hope that owner Hal Steinbrenner will grant general manager Brian Cashman some financial flexibility. With contracts for Josh Donaldson, Luis Severino, and Frankie Montas coming to an end, the Yankees stand to save approximately $37.5 million. Every dollar will be crucial for the Bombers as they strategize to reclaim their winning ways next season.

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