Yankees’ Aaron Boone gushes over star shortstop

MLB: New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are experiencing something almost unprecedented with star shortstop Anthony Volpe, who’s taking a developmental step forward this season that some would say is unrealistic.

As a rookie in 2023, Volpe hit just .209/.283/.383, mashing 21 homers with 60 RBIs and stealing 24 bases. He hosted a 27.8% strikeout rate and 8.7% walk rate, good for an 84 wRC+. However, Volpe has turned things in a totally different direction after spending the off-season and working on his swing and plate discipline.

Over 15 games this year, Volpe is slashing .382/.477/.564, including a 13.6% strikeout rate and an impressive 15.2% walk rate. He hit two homers with eight RBIs and five stolen bases, earning a 207 wRC+.

This is a totally different player compared to last season, and Volpe is putting together something truly special, given the amount of work that needs to be done. In fact, manager Aaron Boone recently transitioned him to the lead-off spot, pushing Gleyber Torres down to the number six slot in the batting order.

The Yankees Have Their New Leadoff Hitter

Taking a look at his numbers batting leadoff, Volpe is hitting an impressive .400 with a .550 OBP. Over those 20 plate appearances, he’s collected five walks and hasn’t struck out, earning six hits.

On Sunday against the Cleveland Guardians, Volpe was phenomenal despite an 8–7 extra innings loss. He picked up three hits with a walk in the game, including a ninth-inning double to right field to tie the game, giving the Yankees a chance to steal a win.

Unfortunately, Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo’s poor defense determined their fate, but the young shortstop did everything in his power to give the Yankees an opportunity to win.

Even manager Aaron Boone is blown away by Volpe’s progress, pointing to his tough at-bats and clutch moments.

“He’s squaring it up every [time],” manager Aaron Boone said. “I would argue he’s hitting into tough luck even. He’s putting together a good at-bat every time. Clase’s obviously about as good as they get at the back end. Just a great at-bat to tie that game.”

Speaking of clutch moments, Volpe has been excellent with runners in scoring position, hitting .333 with a .538 OBP, collecting three hits with six RBIs and just one strike out over 13 plate appearances.

With a more balanced approach in the batter’s box, including a level bat path, Volpe has become one of the team’s best young players. They have him under team control until 2029, so the future is bright, and the Yankees don’t have to worry about the shortstop position for a very long time.

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