It’s not often that the New York Yankees get a great player from the team’s farm system, especially with their desire to spend big bucks on major free agents ever since George Steinbrenner purchased the organization in 1973.
New York has had a small list of talented players impact the major league level in recent years. Some of these names on the current roster include superstar Aaron Judge and former All-Star Luis Severino. When someone in the farm system has the potential to do just that, fans have to pay attention. That’s why it’s peculiar that 20-year-old Anthony Volpe does not receive the due recognition he rightfully deserves.
Volpe, who was selected with the 30th pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, is precisely what the Yankees could use at the Major League level. Why is Volpe the perfect fit to play under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium? The right-handed shortstop grew up in New Jersey as he idolized legendary Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. While Volpe has a long way to go before making a fraction of the impact that Jeter had, he’s undoubtedly on his way.
Volpe, who clocks in at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, is certainly not the most intimidating player in the box. The young prospect might not be swinging for the fences or be flashy on paper, but he does make the most of what he has.
Volpe has a beautiful right-handed swing that has evolved ever since the prospect started his career, striking out in 25% of his at-bats. He hit .294 between his time in Single-A Tampa and Hudson Valley, along with an impressive 1.027 OPS. Volpe also takes advantage of his smaller strike zone, an asset that players like Aaron Judge don’t possess due to Judge’s intimidating 6-foot-7 frame. It’s no wonder the young shortstop earned the 2021 MLB Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Year and quickly emerged as the No. 1 prospect in the Yankee farm system.
He’s hitting for more than just singles and doubles too. Volpe has developed his game to hit at least 20 home runs with the potential for more as his game develops to become major league ready. After hitting just two home runs in a small sample size in 2019, the infielder had 27 in 2021. That may not wow scouts on paper, but when this accompanies his ability to grab extra-base hits, it starts to become even more impressive.
Along with Volpe’s beautiful display of hitting, he’s got speed and a lot of it. With a combination of his high baseball IQ and quick reflexes, the No. 1 prospect had 33 stolen bases. This IQ has helped Volpe play above his strengths at shortstop and could easily help a Yankee team in clutch situations, especially as the team leans on a thin list of players like Tyler Wade to acquire stolen bases in clutch situations.
Alongside Volpe’s excellent skills on the field, he also plays the shortstop position well; a spot that New York has desperately needed to fill after the failure of the Gleyber Torres project. An excellent internal clock and quick release are just some of the skills flashed thus far, and if the prospect can bring these qualities and perform on the big stage, he’s an upgrade for this Yankees team right now.
There’s only one problem holding up Volpe currently. The young prospect still needs time to develop and most likely won’t see time at the major league level until 2023. While this may be unfortunate for the team and fans, it gives Volpe the chance to improve even more from his monster season in the minor leagues last year.
The great news is that the team sees him as their future and wants to put him in the position to join the team soon. A report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says how New York only envisions a one-year rental at the shortstop position, setting up Volpe to join the year after. This report will put pressure on the budding star to have another great year before he is promoted to play under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium. However, with his confidence and skill set, it’s hard to imagine the 20-year-old finding it difficult to replicate or improve upon his 2021 season.