Yankees’ young shortstop may have found the secret ingredient

MLB: Texas Rangers at New York Yankees, anthony volpe
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees promoted Anthony Volpe from Triple-A with the expectation that his impeccable plate discipline and pitch selection would successfully translate into his MLB performance. In his time with Somerset in Double-A, Volpe demonstrated an exceptional eye, although he has grappled with pitch selection and formulating an effective strategy at the plate on the MLB level.

The Factors Influencing Volpe’s Performance with the Yankees

Volpe’s secret weapon has always been his resilient approach and mental acuity. However, these traits seem to have waned in recent months, culminating in the dismissal of hitting coach Dillon Lawson.

In response to this, Yankees manager Aaron Boone brought in his close friend, Sean Casey, known for his emphasis on the holistic process of being a hitter beyond just the analytical aspects. While integrating his traditional methods into contemporary strategies, Casey could generate promising results, especially considering his own All-Star track record.

Rekindling Volpe’s Confidence and Talent

For Volpe, the path forward hinges on restoring his self-assurance and making the most of his opportunities, reminiscent of his spring training performance when the stakes were high.

Even though the Yankees have afforded him considerable latitude to further his development, he seems to have lost sight of the fundamental qualities that brought him this far: tenacity and innate talent.

Evaluating Volpe’s Current Stats and Performance

The aspiration is for Volpe to replicate his Double-A performance with the Yankees, despite a season marked by highs and lows. In June, Volpe achieved a .262 batting average with a .342 OBP, complemented by a .426 slugging percentage and .769 OPS. Although his performance peaked in the latter half of June, it gradually declined as the All-Star break approached.

Boone attempted to insert Volpe into the lead-off spot once more, but Volpe’s performance has consistently been better lower down the order, implying that this should be his preferred position. Specifically, Volpe’s stats show a .191 average and a .270 OBP when leading off this season, whereas he’s achieved a .462 average with a .481 OBP in the eighth spot, albeit from a small sample size of 26 at-bats.

Volpe’s Recent Improvement and Future Projections

Following a chicken parm dinner with his close friend Austin Wells, Volpe has been posting impressive numbers of .300/.364/.538, including four home runs. This signals a positive trend, and although his 89 wRC+ suggests that he’s trailing behind the average MLB hitter by 11% this season, he has ample time to develop and potentially break even, given his current tally of 1.4 WAR for the year.

Volpe’s power hitting is evident, as he ranks second on the team behind Aaron Judge in terms of home runs and leads the team with 16 stolen bases.

Volpe’s Defensive Contribution

On the defensive end, Volpe, the 22-year-old infielder, has shown substantial improvement. Despite earlier inconsistencies, he now boasts a .978 fielding percentage over 764 innings, along with seven errors.

With seven defensive runs saved and two outs above average, he’s demonstrated his proficiency at shortstop. Although Volpe has displayed impressive skills in certain areas, there is significant room for improvement in terms of his on-base rate and regaining his confidence at the plate.

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