Yankees star shortstop went from red hot to ice cold overnight

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

To open the 2024 season, the only Yankees player outperforming Juan Soto was the young shortstop Anthony Volpe, who dominated the first three weeks before encountering his first slump of the season.

Volpe’s performance cooled significantly, as he managed just one hit in his last five games, totaling 22 plate appearances. During this stretch, he’s batting a mere .048/.048/.048, resulting in a -82 wRC+. Clearly, he’s fallen well below average, and the Yankees are trying to determine the cause of this sudden downturn.

Despite this, Volpe’s season stats remain impressive. He’s hitting .288/.367/.413, including two homers and nine RBIs, with a 134 wRC+. He has amassed 1.1 WAR, over half of what he achieved in 159 games in 2023.

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, anthony volpe
Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees Aren’t Worried about Anthony Volpe

There are currently no major concerns about Volpe, but it was inevitable that his stellar performance would normalize—from matching the likes of prime Barry Bonds to reflecting the more consistent efforts expected of a second-year player.

Volpe has significantly improved his ability to hit breaking balls. Last season, he batted just .148 against breakers, but this season, he’s lifted that to .364, including both of his home runs among eight hits over 134 pitches. Against fastballs, he’s batting .298, which is equally impressive.

In clutch situations with runners in scoring position, the 22-year-old infielder is batting .250/.400/.438, showing significant progress in these crucial moments since moving to the leadoff spot. However, his performance as a leadoff hitter has dipped compared to when he bats sixth in the order.

MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Yankees
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

There are no immediate plans to change his lineup position, but if DJ LeMahieu begins to hit his stride, the Yankees might consider another lineup adjustment.

Defensively, Volpe has been outstanding, logging 189.2 innings this season with a .972 fielding percentage, saving three defensive runs, and recording three outs above average. He’s on track for another Gold Glove-level year, providing the Yankees with solid defense as he navigates through his current offensive slump.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: