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Anthony Volpe at bat during a Yankees Spring Training game (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)


Anthony Volpe Knocking on Major League Door with Sizzling Spring

After getting a late call-up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season, Anthony Volpe struggled to adjust to the upper level pitching. For the month of September, which he spent with the Railriders, the Yankees’ top prospect slashed .234/.308/.415 with three homers, five RBI, and six stolen bases. Volpe did show plenty of promise despite the struggles and thus received an invite to major league Spring Training this year. With plenty of questions surrounding the shortstop position in the Bronx this season, the 2019 first round pick has shown the Bombers that he deserves a shot sooner rather than later. While it’s unclear whether or not Volpe will be able to get a handle on shortstop for the big league club, he certainly is knocking on the door of getting the call.

Anthony Volpe swings at a pitch during a Yankees Spring Training game (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

Yankee fans have been adamant that the 21-year-old make the Opening Day roster. YES Network broadcaster David Cone backed up that sentiment on Jomboy Media’s podcast “Toeing the Slab”.

It is certainly not an out-of-world thought, despite the limited playing time above Double-A for Volpe. The fact of the matter is, there really isn’t much of an argument to leave him off the roster. The New Jersey native hasn’t only been getting the support of Yankee fans and broadcasters. The top decision makers and the players have also shown their support.

“He just shows up ready to work. He’s prepared. Very rarely do you see that at such a young age,” Yankees’ new captain Aaron Judge said on Saturday. “But he’s seemed ready to go every single game I’ve play behind him.”

“He’s had a great spring so far,” Judge said of Volpe’s play. “He’s putting the ball in play, making the plays on defense, hustling, great, competitive at-bats. Excited to see, at whatever point he’s up with us, what he can do for us.”

Judge and Jury Behind Him

Judge also said earlier this month that no matter their age, the best players should be playing up in the Bronx. Just look at last year’s National League Rookie of the Year, Michael Harris II. The Atlanta Braves’ outfielder hadn’t played above Double-A before getting called up to the majors in May. There are plenty of examples where players skipped over Triple-A and didn’t have anywhere near the success that Harris did. Volpe, on the other hand, played 22 games for the Railriders last year. He has shown more than enough in spring training to get his shot.

New York’s manager Aaron Boone agreed with Judge when asked about Volpe. He stated that the youngster has earned the respect of the veterans in the clubhouse and the staff. It is a great thing to have when a young player can not only impress with his play on the field, but also just having an incredible work ethic. You don’t want to put too much pressure on the kid. But it is hard not to make comparisons to a certain Hall of Fame shortstop from the Yankees’ past.

“That’s what we expected from him, and that’s what we know about him, and that’s why you hear a lot about him,” Boone said. “It’s because of all those little things he does really well, and he’s shown us that since the start of camp. Guys have kind of gravitated towards that.”

The Verdict

On Saturday, Volpe was a homer shy of the cycle. He completed the other three legs in his first three at-bats. Through Saturday, the soon-to-be 22-year-old has been hitting .314 with a 1.064 OPS. He has also added five stolen bases, three homers, and eight walks to 13 strikeouts. With Opening Day coming up on Thursday, the Yankees will be making final decisions on the roster very soon.

It wouldn’t be a shock to see Volpe as one of the final cuts, before getting called up after a couple more weeks in Triple-A. But the fact that he has been leading off and playing shortstop in most of the games this spring, is a good omen for him to make the roster. Not to mention the fact, that part of his competition at shortstop, Isiah Kiner-Falefa isn’t giving him much pushback. The Yankees have tried Kiner-Falefa in the outfield this spring as they transition him to a utility role. Oswald Peraza is another young prospect that could be the Opening Day shortstop. But he has struggled pretty mightily this spring since coming on strong in September.

Anthony Volpe and Isiah Kiner-Falefa waiting for drills during Spring Training (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

When it comes down to it, Volpe should make the Opening Day roster and start at shortstop on March 30. With the Yankees players and manager behind him, will it happen? We will find out soon.

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