Yankees’ rising shortsop has a chance to do something special in 2024

MLB: Texas Rangers at New York Yankees
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Volpe, the rising shortstop of the New York Yankees, is not only passionate about the team but also deeply committed to his own growth and development. After navigating through a challenging rookie season at just 22 years old, Volpe has laid the groundwork for what promises to be a bright future marked by significant improvements.

Areas of Improvement for Volpe

In his rookie year, Volpe faced certain issues that needed attention, particularly his batting average and on-base percentage. Despite these challenges, he showcased his potential by hitting 21 home runs, driving in 60 RBIs, stealing 24 bases, and maintaining a 27.8% strikeout rate alongside an 8.7% walk rate. Reducing his strikeout percentage will be crucial for increasing his on-base opportunities and improving his batting average.

Volpe’s slugging performance was notable, as evidenced by his 42.7% hard-hit rate, 9% barrel rate, and an average exit velocity of 88.7. The next step for him is to increase his flyball rate, which stood at 37.1% but was over 50% in his minor league career. Adjusting to major league play and working on elevating the ball more consistently will aid in hitting more home runs and avoiding double plays.

Volpe’s Versatility and Potential for Growth

An exciting aspect of Volpe’s game is his ability to hit the ball to all fields, demonstrating versatility in his approach at the plate. This skill not only highlights his offensive potential but also bodes well for his continued development as a hitter.

However, there are areas where he can still improve. Last season, he ranked in the 44th percentile in chase rate, 33rd percentile in whiff rate, and 19th percentile in strikeout rate, all of which are below average. Enhancing these metrics will be key to leaving his struggles in the past. His prowess as a base runner already stands out, indicating that with a more disciplined approach at the plate, he could significantly boost the Yankees’ offense.

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Expectations and Contribution to the Yankees

Volpe is expected to bat 9th in the lineup, positioning him as a strategic asset ahead of power hitters like Aaron Judge and Soto. His ability to navigate the bases will be crucial for the team’s offensive strategy.

Another area for improvement is his performance with runners in scoring position. Volpe’s current statistics in these situations (.203/.281/.425) suggest room for growth, particularly in clutch moments.

Despite these areas for development, Volpe’s defensive skills are impressive. He set a franchise record with 15 defensive runs saved at shortstop over 1,346.2 innings, showcasing his defensive acumen.

With multiple records already under his belt as a rookie, Volpe’s future looks bright. The Yankees’ focus will be on building his confidence and facilitating his ongoing development, setting the stage for potentially one of the better seasons by a Yankees shortstop in recent memory.