Yankees’ Aaron Judge says ‘we’re only seeing the beginning’ of star shortstop

mlb: toronto blue jays at new york yankees, aaron judge, anthony volpe

Following an underwhelming 2023 season, the New York Yankees are entering an off-season filled with reflection and strategic planning. The team aims to revitalize its lineup by adding robust hitters to aid Aaron Judge and other seasoned players who didn’t meet expectations during the past season.

Yankees’ Shifting Dynamics with Young Talent

In recent years, burdensome contracts and waning performances have been significant setbacks for the Yankees. However, the emergence of promising prospects and the infusion of young talent through free agency are rewriting this script.

One standout is 22-year-old shortstop Anthony Volpe, an AL Gold Glove award finalist, who has brought a fresh dynamic to the infield. With 1,346.2 innings under his belt this season, Volpe secured a .970 fielding percentage and set a franchise record with 15 defensive runs saved, topping all eligible Gold Glove candidates in this metric.

Despite calls for Volpe to shift to second base due to concerns over his arm strength, his rookie season performance has largely silenced critics. Yet, his offensive output remains an area poised for growth, drawing the organization’s attention.

Anthony Volpe’s Untapped Potential: A View from the Dugout

Yankees’ mainstay Aaron Judge sees a bright future for Volpe, predicting a formidable start to 2024 for the young shortstop.

“I know he definitely doesn’t want to be hitting .[209] for his first season — I know he’s not happy about that,” Judge said. “I think he’s had an impressive year so far, but we’re only seeing the beginning. He’s going to come out with a bang next year.”

In a season spanning 159 games and 601 plate appearances, Volpe tallied a .209 average, .283 OBP, and .383 slugging rate, complemented by 21 home runs, 60 RBIs, and 24 stolen bases. Despite a 27.8% strikeout rate and an 84 wRC+, his performance hinted at untapped potential, marked by periods of slumps interspersed with impressive hot streaks.

Promising Signs Amidst Growth Opportunities

August stood out as Volpe’s banner month, boasting a .256 average, .333 OBP, and .556 slugging, with seven home runs and 21 RBIs. His power and contact skills are evident, though inconsistent plate discipline remains an obstacle.

Given the flashes of brilliance in his rookie year, expectations are high for Volpe’s evolution into an All-Star talent. As he works to refine his skills, he represents a beacon of hope for a Yankees squad eager to reestablish itself as a powerhouse, underscoring the pivotal role of youth and adaptability in their journey ahead.

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