For the fourth time in their franchise history, the New York Yankees had the 30th pick in the first round. With that pick, they went with a player that was mocked to them often in the process. The choice was shortstop Anthony Volpe out of Delbarton High School in Morristown, New Jersey.
Delbarton High School in Morristown, New Jersey might sound familiar to you because you read about it when we profiled right-hander Jack Leiter in March as a possible first-round selection back in March.
Volpe is a 5-foot-11 shortstop who is committed to playing college baseball at Vanderbilt University along with Leiter. He is profiled as a shortstop but also has experience playing at second base. Here is what Baseball America had to say about him (subscription required):
“A smaller, 5-foot-11, 180-pound shortstop out of New Jersey, Volpe doesn’t overwhelm with tools or physicality, but he plays an extremely sound game both offensively and defensively. At the plate, Volpe has well below-average power from the right side, but he has a short swing with quick hands and is capable of spraying line drives to all fields.”
Getting a player to forego going to a great baseball program like the Commodores would be a challenge. However, New York has some extra bonus pool money thanks to the Sonny Gray deal, so getting Volpe here might allow them to use that money to prevent him from going to Vanderbilt. Here is more on Volpe courtesy of Perfect Game:
“Very polished defensive infielder with all the actions, advanced footwork and balance, very quick transfer and release, very smooth and fluid, not elite arm strength but plenty to play all over the infield with his other skills.”
If you look at Baseball America’s rankings (subscription required), they had Volpe 61st on their Top 400 prospects in this class. That ranking may seem low for the Yankees to take him early in the draft. However, he was 12th among players at shortstop and is the ninth shortstop that has been taken in the MLB Draft so far.
It is not uncommon for the Yankees to select an infielder with the 30th pick. In fact, if you go back to 2015, New York went a similar direction in terms of position when they drafted Kyle Holder out of San Diego University. Volpe will need more time to develop, but the Yankees could either develop him slowly as a shortstop or fast track him at second base if the progression is going smooth. Here is some video on his swing courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
At the bottom of Round 1, this is a good selection for New York because it would add more depth to the infield and give them a good gap hitter with more versatility as the game switches over to an all-or-nothing mentality. He kind of reminds me a bit of DJ LeMahieu \ with the balance that he shows on offense.
It may take a while for Volpe to develop the power to his game, but it is never bad to take a player at the bottom of the first round that is strong at the other areas of the game.