Anthony Volpe has arguably had the best Spring Training among all players on the Yankees so far, and the Yankees are taking notice. While a report from ESPN’s Buster Olney following his trip to Spring Training with the Yankees suggested that Oswald Peraza is the heavy favorite, this adds a new wrinkle to this shortstop battle. Foul Territory (@FoulTerritoryTV on Twitter) did an interview with Aaron Boone where he revealed that Volpe is “very much in the running” to make the Opening Day roster.
That is certainly an interesting comment for the manager of the Yankees to make, especially considering he’d go on and rave about how impressive Volpe is. While the Yankees are certainly have a logjam in the infield, could they throw caution to the wind and make Opening Day the long-awaited debut of star prospect Anthony Volpe?
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The Yankees Could Have a Star in Anthony Volpe
Cautious optimism is the best way to go about placing expectations on an exciting prospect, and Anthony Volpe isn’t any different. With that being said, we’ve seen Volpe display incredible skills at the plate, on the basepaths, and in the infield as well. He’s truly evolved into a great all-around talent, and the Yankees could certainly use that in their lineup. Michael Kay, on his radio show, mentioned that if the Yankees were to call up Anthony Volpe, it would be as a full-time starter, which means they must really think highly of him if they want to consider calling him up and starting him right away.
It would most likely be at either second base or shortstop, but he’s been impressive at both spots. His range stands out due to his great athleticism, his arm hasn’t presented much of an issue so far, and his defensive IQ and decision-making are great. Many respected members of the organization have spoken highly of Volpe’s IQ and the way he carries himself, most notably Willie Randolph. Randolph went as far as to compare Volpe’s demeanor and makeup to Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter, two of the most iconic captains in franchise history.
In terms of his production so far on the field, he’s generating a 90.4 Exit Velocity on average, with a .667 SLG% and 1.126 OPS. He’s pulling the ball 60.9% of the time and yet he’s walking 16.2% of the time and striking out just 18.9% of the time, which is impressive since pulling the ball means getting out in front of the ball and being aggressive, and yet Volpe is able to still lay off of pitches out of the zone and make contact at an above-average level. He’s got the ideal skills for a leadoff hitter, and the Yankees certainly have a great talent here.
His batted ball sprays have been equally as impressive, with a 26.1% Line Drive rate and 30.4% Flyball rate, signaling a great ability to elevate the ball in the air. Coupled with high exit velocities and we’re looking at a player who generates hard contact in the air frequently, and so far in the Spring, he’s only popped up 8.7% of batted balls. The Yankees have a prospect in Volpe who can give them a .350-.360 OBP and 20+ HRs, and that’s not even mentioning his incredible baserunning acumen.
For as smart as Volpe is as a baseball player, he’s equally as athletic. He has incredible speed that the Yankees also sorely need, and it allows him to be a high-motor player that can impact the game in a multitude of different methods. While it’s hard to find a way to get him in the lineup with Peraza/Torres/Donaldson/LeMahieu all at the Major League level, it’s certainly possible for the Yankees to swing a trade between now and Opening Day.
Whatever decision they inevitably go with for their top prospect, we do know that he’s heavily involved in the shortstop battle and that he’s going to play a massive role on this 2023 team.