Yankees’ young infielder ready to ‘explode’ in 2024

mlb: new york yankees at los angeles dodgers, anthony volpe
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees‘ infield has a healthy blend of veterans with experience and younger talent ready to make a significant impact in 2024. Second-year player Anthony Volpe has a bright future ahead of him, and the expectations are starting to mount with spring training nearly underway.

Yankees’ Rising Expectations for Anthony Volpe

Despite taking the fan base by storm with an electrifying performance prior to the 2023 regular season, he struggled as a rookie, which was to be expected.

At 22 years old, Volpe hit .209/.283/.383, including 21 homers, 60 RBIs, and stealing 24 bases. His 27.8% strikeout rate was a bit high, but he’s looking to reduce that number and make more quality contact.

In fact, Volpe recorded a 42.7% hard-hit rate and 9% barrel rate, including an 88.7 average exit velocity. His 21 homers certainly suggest he has plenty of power to get the ball out of the stadium in a hurry and support the team’s offensive contributions.

Jim Bowden of The Athletic believes that Volpe could have an explosive 2024 season, especially if he can elevate his average a bit and put some more power behind the ball.

A Promising Offensive Outlook

“If he can get his average up to .240-.250, then his home runs could creep up to 24-25 and his stolen bases could reach 30 (or more),” Bowden wrote. “He scored 62 runs last season but should get more this year; if he hits ninth for the Yankees, he’ll have DJ LeMahieu, Juan Soto, and Aaron Judge batting behind him. He’s a great value player in fantasy and should be even more of a difference-maker at the bottom of the Yankees batting order this summer.”

Volpe recorded a 41.1% ground ball rate and a 37.1% flyball rate. Increasing his fly-ball percentage may even result in more home runs, especially since he enjoyed a 14.2-degree launch angle. The categories where the young shortstop could improve are with runners in scoring position, and boosting his walk rate, which would indicate a better eye and more discipline.

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

Defensive Excellence and Future Growth

Defensively, Volpe already set a franchise record in defensive runs saved, collecting 15 last season with a .970 fielding percentage over 1,346.2 innings.

Having earned a Gold Glove as a first-year player and showed that his arm talent is plenty to support the shortstop position, the Yankees don’t have to worry about one side of his game. He should only improve defensively after a strong first season, but his bat stands to gain a lot of production.

Volpe is excited to continue developing his strengths and addressing his weaknesses. Fortunately, he has an unmatched work ethic and has been working diligently this offseason to help support further growth.

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