Yankees make brilliant lineup change against Rays

anthony volpe, yankees
Apr 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe (11) celebrates with center fielder Aaron Judge (99) after hitting a two run home run in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees commenced the season with rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe batting ninth. Eventually, they decided that he should occupy the leadoff spot, given his blend of speed, knack for drawing walks, and sporadic power.

This arrangement proved successful for a brief period before Volpe began encountering difficulties. As a rookie, such challenges are to be expected. Consequently, Yankees manager Aaron Boone was compelled to remove him from the leadoff spot, replacing him with Gleyber Torres.

In the six games leading off before his removal, Volpe managed only two hits in 29 plate appearances, scoring just two runs and one home run, which was a grand slam.

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The Yankees made a good decision moving Anthony Volpe in the lineup:

For the first time this season, Volpe began a game batting seventh, and his performance made Boone’s decision appear ingenious. He hit a crucial home run against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night, going 2-for-3 with a run and two RBIs.

While Volpe might potentially be the Yankees’ future leadoff hitter, the timing currently doesn’t seem right.

The idea of Volpe leading off for the Yankees is undeniably appealing, but given that his offensive skills might still be under development, it might not be the optimal time to proceed with that strategy. Once he reaches his full potential, he could excel in that role.

At present, his stats are .212/.291/.384 with a .675 OPS and an 88 wRC+ when batting first (his splits can be seen here). Batting him seventh, as was done on Friday, can alleviate some of the pressure he may be experiencing. He doesn’t need to be ‘the Yankees leadoff hitter,’ at least not at this stage.

Boone’s decision to move Volpe was necessary, and based on the results from the Yankees’ last game, it seems to have paid off. Volpe is once again batting seventh for Saturday’s game against the Rays and might continue in this role for the foreseeable future.