The New York Yankees have a monumental decision to make in the infield this off-season, notably who will start at shortstop. According to Buster Olney of ESPN, Oswald Peraza has the job all but locked up, sending Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the bench as a viable trade piece.
However, Anthony Volpe is making a strong push toward landing on the 26-man roster himself, but there isn’t necessarily a place for him in the starting infield.
In fact, there’s a strong argument that Volpe starts the 2023 campaign with Triple-A Scranton, having enjoyed just 21 games at that level before the end of the year. Volpe played 106 games, accumulating 922.2 innings of action with Somerset in Double-A, hitting .251 with a .348 OBP, 18 homers, and 60 RBIs.
While those numbers may not stand out, the first two months of his season dragged his statistics down significantly. In the month of June, Volpe hit .298 with a .360 OBP, following it up with a .296 BA, .416 OBP, and 1.007 OPS in July.
The Yankees know Anthony Volpe is ready to play for them in 2023:
The 21-year-old infielder quickly assimilates to new levels of talent and adjusts with ease, but it takes a few weeks. The Yankees may want to wait until he’s hitting consistently with Scranton before calling him up, especially since they already have DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres taking on starting reps.
Nonetheless, star slugger Aaron Judge indicated that Volpe should be promoted to the MLB immediately since age shouldn’t be a factor, and he’s ready to compete now.
“If you’re the best player, it shouldn’t matter your age. You should be up helping the New York Yankees.”Per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
This spring, Volpe is hitting .353 with a .450 OBP and 1.097 OPS. Across 17 at-bats, he’s collected six hits, five runs, one HR, one RBI, and three stolen bases. Defensively, he’s primarily played shortstop and second base, looking smooth and efficient with his fundamentals.
There is no question that Volpe is ready to compete at the Major League level right now, but the Yankees may want to be conservative with how they utilize him, especially regarding service time manipulation.
“I’ve got high expectations, and [Volpe’s] come in and gotten after it,” manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s in line with the reputation he’s earned in our organization. He works hard. You can tell he loves the game. I think of our captain, Aaron Judge — one of the things that stands out is he loves the game. So you get into the little things, watching and looking to find a little bit of an edge — he’s always doing that.”
Management has desperately tried to control service time in the past with specific players, and if Volpe isn’t going to enjoy everyday reps, there’s no reason for him to feature at the top level just yet. Unless the Yankees look to trade IKF and Gleyber Torres, they are too many proven commodities in front of Volpe at this point in time.