Yankees’ rookie shortstop saving the day as $68 million flops

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees, anthony volpe
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

While the New York Yankees‘ offense has a considerable journey before it can be deemed efficient, rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe has been adding much-needed vigor to the team over the past few weeks. His stunning power and contact skills have been a hidden treasure.

Volpe’s Rapid Improvement

Looking back at May, Volpe had a disappointing performance, hitting a mere .174 with a .216 OBP and .592 OPS. Despite this setback, the Yankees continued to provide him with opportunities to better his skills, and he rose to the occasion in June. The 22-year-old rookie achieved .265 with a .342 OBP and .769 OPS in June, setting the stage for a promising July, where he excelled over 22 at-bats in six games.

[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622326″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]

With seasoned players like DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, and Josh Donaldson going through a rough patch this year, Volpe has effectively filled the void and swiftly advanced in the batting order. As we step into July, he’s impressively hitting .364 with a .364 OBP and 1.091 OPS.

“He’s been the same consistent guy throughout and it’s been fun to watch him make adjustments on the fly, which you’ve got to do to be a successful major leaguer,” comments a team spokesperson.

Volpe’s Undeterred Attitude

Despite several challenges, Anthony Volpe’s persistent attitude this season has been admirable. He confronted these obstacles head-on and succeeded in overcoming mounting weaknesses. Although his season record currently stands at .223 with a .295 OBP, he’s already achieved 12 homers with 31 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.

“This league is very good at attacking weaknesses, finding holes,” Manager Boone stated. “And the really good ones are able to make adjustments. And I think (Volpe) has done a really good job these past few weeks of making some really good adjustments.”

With a 93 wRC+ and 1.5 WAR, Volpe has effectively elevated his numbers and is inching towards league average, but he seems ready to surpass this and continue his positive trajectory.

Not Just Offense, But Defense Too

Volpe’s accomplishments aren’t limited to his offense. He has also significantly improved his defense. Over 728 innings at shortstop, Volpe has a commendable .976 fielding percentage with six defensive runs saved and one out above average.

Initial doubts about Anthony being a long-term solution at shortstop have been cast aside as he proves himself to be above average, a trait the Yankees haven’t seen in a shortstop for many years.

Other Players Struggling to Keep Up

Unfortunately, not all players on the roster are faring as well. DJ LeMahieu, with his $15 million salary, has been a considerable disappointment this year. The 34-year-old veteran utilityman is hitting .219 with a .287 OBP, posting a 78 wRC+, his lowest since 2014.

The Yankees are anxiously waiting for one of their best contact hitters to regain his form. Otherwise, they will have to continue leaning on their young talents to compensate for their inefficiency.

Giancarlo Stanton, with his substantial $32 million salary, has also been a noticeable gap in the batting order, hitting .201 with a .265 OBP this season, including a 77 wRC+, seven homers, and 20 RBIs. Despite a brief successful streak at June’s end, Stanton is still only hitting .222 with a .300 OBP as July begins.

The spotlight then shifts to Josh Donaldson. Despite performing well on Wednesday night, Donaldson is still struggling with a meager .149 average and a .216 OBP. Nine of Donaldson’s 13 hits this season are home runs—an intriguing statistic indeed.

The Yankees urgently require their $21 million infielder to recapture a fraction of his former brilliance. Yet with his prime years receding into the past, the team may soon need to make difficult decisions if his inconsistencies persist.

In a time of turbulent performance from seasoned players, rookie Anthony Volpe shines as a beacon of promise for the Yankees. His commendable growth and consistency may just be the silver lining the Yankees need during this challenging season.