But don’t look now, because in a non-mainstream ranking, the Yanks’ recently-unearthed diamond in the rough, shortstop Anthony Volpe, has surpassed him in the national prospect rankings.
Is this the beginning of a trend? Or a flash in the pan? Do we even need to worry about which top prospect is better if they’re both raking?
The answers there are certainly “maybe!”, “doubtful!” and “not really, all good!” but it’s still worth pondering the spectacular rise of Volpe, from the edges of the first round to this ridiculous change in perception.
He’s mashed up Low-A and High-A this season to an obscene degree, and though some still rank the 20-year-old New Jersey native behind Oswald Peraza in the Yankees’ middle infield prospect collection, that’s not an insult to either party.
Both have been truly special, and Volpe’s baseball instinct and surprise slugging have impressed Rotowire so much that they’ve ranked him 11th and Dominguez 12th on their offensive top prospects list.
Yankees: How did Anthony Volpe leapfrog Jasson Dominguez in rankings?
Look, bottom line? If you’re the Yankees, you take both rankings and you run with it. Any way we can get the spotlight to shine a little bit less on Dominguez, who’s both lived up to the hype and been overhyped, we’ll take it. Especially if the organization’s strength and depth is highlighted in the process.
Rotowire appears to be the outlier thus far, though…but there’s nothing wrong with Volpe’s rocket rise “only” taking him to the edges of various top 100s for now. He wedged his way onto both the Baseball America and MLB Pipeline lists midseason after being well off the radar, to say the least, when the season began.
There’s an extremely good chance he’ll rank as the Yankees’ consensus No. 2 prospect when 2022 begins, an honor he’ll have earned with a near-impossible slash line of .306/.441/.616 across two levels (and he was, uh, supposed to be a light-hitting, instincts-first shortstop).
Additionally, we’ve begun reading more and more pieces about Volpe’s intangibles, which tends to happen when you’re doing so much winning and making so many intelligent plays that sportswriters can’t help but discern there’s something special going on here.
No matter what order you have Volpe and Dominguez ranked when 2021 ends, it’s clear now that the Yankees’ top pitching prospects have been supplanted atop the team’s rankings by a rapid riser no one saw coming at the end of 2020.
That’s not a bad thing. That’s not regression-based. Volpe simply went out and took it.