The New York Yankees didn’t have to wait long to see the star potential of top prospect Anthony Volpe at shortstop. The 21-year-old has only played 18 major-league games and has started to trend positively, indicating he will be a long-term impact player.
The Yankees have not been shy from utilizing Volpe’s young and athletic style, specifically on the base paths. While he’s only hitting .204 with a .338 OBP this season, his last seven games tell a vastly different story. Across 23 at-bats, Volpe has recorded seven hits, posting a .304 batting average, including a home run, two RBIs, three runs scored, and six walks.
In fact, over Volpe’s last four games, he’s only struck out twice and walked five times, tallying three hits across 11 at-bats. The young infielder has experienced tremendous growth regarding his swing decisions and has seen stratospheric improvements with his chase rate.
Manager Aaron Boone might have made a few inconspicuous decisions regarding line-up construction to start the season. Still, one brilliant choice was elevating Volpe and giving him an opportunity with their MLB squad after just 22 games of action at the Triple-A level.
“His DNA is: Control the strike zone,” Boone said. “I think when he really gets rolling, you’re going to see that at a really high level. I think even these first couple weeks when he hasn’t been on fire yet, you still see that in there, his ability to lay off pitches. So I think he’s cut out for that. Obviously you add the speed mix to it, but yeah, I think he has it all in there. Whether he’s hitting ninth or hitting first, I think the heartbeat, between the ears, he’s equipped to handle it all.”
[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622326″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]
The Yankees need to keep putting pressure on Anthony Volpe:
Go figure, Volpe responds well to challenges and pressure, so putting him in the lead-off spot has been a rewarding decision. In fact, batting first, Volpe is hitting .278 with a .409 OBP and .909 OPS. The sample size is only 18 at-bats, but his No. 9 stats are sizably different. Across 36 at-bats, Anthony has recorded just six hits, averaging .167 with a .302 OBP and .524 OPS. The reality is he’s getting better pitches to hit right before Aaron Judge and utilizing a stellar eye to curate walks and on-base opportunities.
We haven’t even begun to detail his stolen base effect. Volpe has stolen eight bases this year, a perfect 100% success rate. The very moment that Volpe finds himself on first base, he starts to do his dance, confusing pitchers and forcing them into mistakes. Against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, Volpe completely distracted opposing pitcher Griffin Canning, causing him to throw an absolute meatball to Aaron Judge, who launched a 412-foot dinger to left center.
We are seeing the impact of Volpe at such a young age through a variety of different categories. What he can do on the base paths is uncanny, and the Yankees will eventually hit with runners in scoring position. He had multiple opportunities to be driven in with no outs, but the team’s best hitters couldn’t pull through.
The Yankees’ top prospect has certainly put on a show the past few days, and while he hasn’t been hitting for power necessarily, his ability to get on base and make things happen doesn’t go unnoticed.
I would be remiss not to mention his defensive efficiency at shortstop. Across 153 innings, Volpe hosts a perfect fielding percentage with three defensive runs saved and one out above average. Displaying tremendous athleticism and range, Volpe has made several impressive plays, looking the part of a future star shortstop.
The truth is, the Yankees haven’t had this level of defensive play in a very long time, and most believed Oswald Peraza would lock down the position because of his qualities in that area. However, Volpe has taken the reins and held on tight, which is exactly what the Yankees hoped for.