Kansas City Royalsâ€™ prospects Bobby Witt Jr., Nick Pratto, and RJ Melendez all hit 30 homers, and the shortstop was very close to a 30-30 season. Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene were brilliant in the Detroit Tigersâ€™ fans, Triston Casas and Jarren Duran were spectacular for the Boston Red Sox, and so on. There were many hitting prospects with marvelous performances in 2021, but none of them better than New York Yankeesâ€™ shortstop Anthony Volpe.
The Yankeesâ€™ top prospect was named MLB Pipelineâ€™s 2021 Hitting Prospect of the Year after breaking out and reaching two levels: Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.
Baltimore Oriolesâ€™ righty Grayson Rodriguez is the Pitching Prospect of the Year.
The Yankeesâ€™ top prospect had a season to remember
Volpe, the Yankeesâ€™ first-round pick in 2019, hit .294/.423/.604 with 27 home runs, 33 stolen bases, a 1.027 OPS and 170 wRC+. He hit a whopping 68 extra-base hits between the two levels.
The Yankeesâ€™ coaches and minor league managers are thoroughly impressed with his progress this year.
â€œHe stays on the ball for a really long time, but his attacking ability is great,â€ said Hudson Valley manager Dan Fiorito to MLB.com. â€He finds a way to get the ball in the air and drive line drives to all fields. He has a great ability to keep the ball off the ground.â€
His swing has earned him high praise around the organization.
â€œHonestly, it feels natural,â€ the player said. â€œI never consciously thought to have more launch angle or stuff like that. I just feel like I can get to a lot more pitches, and when I’m hitting the ball hard — and I’ve been hitting the ball a lot harder — those balls that probably would have been doubles or singles in years past, a couple of those are going over the fence now.â€
The Yankees hope he can be ready to take over shortstop for the big league club at some point in 2022 or 2023.