After a Spring Training in which he posted a .314 batting average and a 1.064 OPS over 17 games, Yankees infielder Anthony Volpe is set to make his Major League debut at the age of 21. The Yankees announced that Volpe has made the Major League roster out of camp, and may very well be the youngest shortstop to start for the team on Opening Day since Derek Jeter. Here’s a closer look at Volpe.
A Look at Volpe
The future is now for New Jersey native Anthony Volpe, who will make his Major League debut a little less than four years after he was selected in the first round by the Yankees in the 2019 MLB Draft. A career. 262 hitter in the Minors, Volpe cracked 11 extra base hits over his first 34 games in the MiLB in 2019. Two years later, he broke out with Tampa (A) and Hudson Valley (A+).
The 21-year-old hit 27 home runs and stole 33 bags in 2021 and hit .294/.423/.604 across 513 plate appearances. Volpe showcased elite speed and above-average pop in 2021, as well as control of the strike zone. Those traits were on full display again in 2022. Between Somerset (AA) and Scranton Wilkes-Barre (AAA), he hit 21 home runs, stole 50 bags, and recorded a 10.9% BB% rate.
Volpe has the potential to be a special player for the Yankees. The 21-year-old could very well be a 20-20 player for the Yankees, thanks to his ability to drive the ball and impact the game with his legs. Defensively, he has the range to handle short. The question, however, is whether Volpe’s arm is good enough to handle at the position at the Major League level. If not, a move to second base may be in order.
The 21-year-old beat out Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Oswald Peraza for the job, the latter of which was sent down to Scranton to start the 2023 season. Peraza hit well for the Yankees in a brief stint with the team late last year, as he went 15-49 with a home run and two runs driven in between September and October. The 22-year-old did start the spring off on the right foot, but ended it with a poor five-game stretch that saw him go just 1-12 at the plate.
A Look at the Yankees Infield
With Volpe poised to become the youngest Yankees infield to start at short on Opening Day since Derek Jeter in 1996, he’s set to join an infield that’s set to include Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu, and Josh Donaldson at third. Rizzo and LeMahieu were both solid for the Yanks last season, but the latter did miss the playoffs last year.
And as for Donaldson, the 37-year-old is coming off the worst full season of his 12-year career. For the first time, Donaldson failed to hit the 20 home marker in a season in which he played at least 100 regular season games. While he did make a fair amount of contact, the third baseman saw a slight uptick on topped balls and went in the wrong direction in both Chase% and Whiff% rate.