Anthony Volpe began the 2023 season as a fresh-faced 21-year-old rookie with limited Triple-A experience, yet his debut season with the New York Yankees could be described as more than just decent—it’s been good. While his 88 wRC+ may point to him being a below-average hitter, he’s knocked 21 home runs out of the park, stolen 24 bases, and—here’s the kicker—his defensive prowess has been nothing short of historical for the Yankees.
Setting New Benchmarks: How Volpe’s Defense Stands Out
Since the availability of Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) statistics in 2003, Volpe has set a new Yankees’ single-season record with a DRS of 13. To put that into context, it surpasses Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s 10 from last year and Didi Gregorius’ 8 back in 2017. And let’s not forget that Yankees legend Derek Jeter was never exactly known for his defensive skills at shortstop. While Oswald Peraza might currently hold the title of the team’s best defensive player, Volpe has proven that he can more than handle the shortstop position.
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Defensive Metrics Say It All: Yankees’ Confidence in Volpe
Despite recording 15 errors at shortstop, ranking him fourth in MLB behind the likes of Trea Turner, CJ Abrams, and Javier Baez, Volpe has still demonstrated he can be a cornerstone of the Yankees’ defense. The metrics back him up: he’s net positive in almost all defensive stats, boasting 3 Outs Above Average (OAA, as per Statcast’s metrics) and a 4.0 UZR/150 (Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 innings).
A Versatile Arm: Making It Work Despite Limitations
While his throwing arm may not be the strongest in the league, it’s been far from a problem for the Yankees. Volpe has adapted his game effectively to meet the team’s needs, showing his ability to make necessary adjustments.
A Bright Spot in a Challenging Year: Volpe’s Development
In a season that’s been filled with more downs than ups, Volpe’s rapid development has been a bright spot, instilling confidence in both the organization and its fanbase. If we’re summing up his debut year, it’s been one of learning, growth, and proving that he can adapt offensively while excelling at the shortstop position.