The struggle of the New York Yankees‘ promising shortstop, Anthony Volpe, over the past few months is no mystery. Currently, the 22-year-old is batting .186 with an OBP of .260 and has hit nine home runs along with 26 RBIs and a wRC+ of 68.
Volpe’s reputation has been built on his offensive prowess. Nevertheless, the Yankees chose to skip Triple-A and promoted him directly to the MLB roster, hoping that he would be able to transfer his success from Double-A Somerset.
Regrettably, this has not materialized as quickly as they would have liked, yet manager Aaron Boone is not ready to write off his talented young player.
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The Yankees need to rebuild Anthony Volpe’s confidence:
One could argue that Volpe should be reassigned to Triple-A to continue his development and regain his confidence before being promoted again. Having been surpassed by Volpe for the shortstop position during spring training, Oswald Peraza, the more experienced of the two, might be deserving of another chance in the major league.
Peraza’s superior defensive skills and unexplored offensive potential suggest that he could be a valuable asset. The Yankees may decide to use him as trade bait at the upcoming deadline, although having him compete directly with Volpe could also be a constructive strategy.
Despite Boone’s recognition of Volpe’s recent difficulties, he remains confident in the young shortstop’s ability to turn his season around.
“And (Volpe’s) been struggling the last couple of weeks a bit,” Boone said, via The Athletic. “We’ve got an off day (Monday). Just felt like (Sunday) was a good day.”
Volpe had a disappointing May, batting .174 with an OBP of .216, and his performance in June has not improved, batting .120 with a .154 OBP in 25 at-bats.
The young infielder’s fortunes could change at any moment, and he could start delivering successful performances. However, with his average plummeting and his confidence seemingly at an all-time low, the Yankees need to find a way to reset his mindset.
“(Volpe) has still had productive at-bats,” the manager said. “He’s got nine homers. He’s gotten a lot of big hits for us. He’s done a lot of big things. He’s done a lot of winning things, even though he’s hitting under .200. Just offensively right now, he’s in the middle of a lot of winning games. While he’s taking his lumps and had his struggles, he’s also had some massive successes, too.”
Although Volpe has proven his worth as a power hitter, the Yankees cannot solely rely on home runs. Nine home runs is undoubtedly an impressive statistic for him, but his 30.8% strikeout rate does not reflect his discipline and decision-making in the minor leagues.
“Sitting here,” Boone said, “(Volpe) might hit over 20 homers, and eventually he’ll get better and better at plugging holes and making adjustments because that’s who he is. Confident that he’ll do that.”
Currently, however, Volpe does not appear confident at the plate. After striking out in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, he was visibly frustrated and seemed on the verge of smashing his bat on home plate.
His increasing frustration and evident negative body language suggest that his issues are more mental than physical.
A few days off might be beneficial for him, but patience at the plate and trusting his instincts rather than being overly aggressive will be the most effective approach to reviving his season.