The New York Yankees are still in the hunt for a starting shortstop. They were reportedly interested in Corey Seager before the Texas Rangers gave him an enormous 10-year, $325 million deal, and could still sign one of Carlos Correa and Trevor Story. Both are still free agents but can’t sign until after the lockout.
However, the Yankees also considered cheaper alternatives at shortstop before the lockout. They reportedly expressed interest in defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons. The Bombers do need a star shortstop, but the fact they could have a homemade one ready within the next year or two, is probably influencing the way they approach the market and the position.
Should the Yankees go all-in and bring Correa on a long-term deal? Or should they go with a short contract for someone like Simmons and wait for Anthony Volpe, their best prospect and the most improved minor league player of 2021, to be ready?
Volpe reached High-A in 2021, so it’s unfair to expect him to contribute in the major leagues in 2022. But there is a slight chance his bat forces a promotion around September.
The Yankees have a good one in Volpe
He is that good: he slashed .302/.455/.623 with a 186 wRC+ in Low-A, and .286/.391/.587 in High-A. Between the two levels, he smashed 27 home runs and stole 33 bases while playing solid defense at the infield’s most important position.
He has a plus hit tool, has power, speed, and can successfully field his position to the point he should stick as an everyday shortstop for a long time. But there is a trait separating himself from the pack, according to manager Aaron Boone: intangibles.
“I’ve gotten a little peek into some of those intangible things, the way he carries himself, the way he communicates, the way he talks,” Boone said, per NJ Advance Media. “Obviously, there’s an incredible work ethic there. There’s this confidence with humility mixed in. I’m really excited about the player but also the person that I’ve gotten to see so far.”
If the Yankees sign a shortstop for the long-term, they could accommodate Volpe at third or second. If they go with a short-term option, he has a very good chance of being the Yankees’ shortstop by 2023. Either way, his talent, work ethic, and cool, confident demeanor will take him far in the major leagues.