The New York Yankees currently run a floundering offensive unit out every day around clear league MVP Aaron Judge. Coming off a series in Tampa Bay where the team scored three total runs, all scored by Judge, some sort of shakeup is clearly necessary.
No one can wave a magic wand and fix Anthony Rizzo’s back or DJ LeMahieu’s toe, right? Right. But in spots where an internal adjustment is clearly possible, the team’s best players should be starting. Oswaldo Cabrera should be playing every day. Oswald Peraza should get a reasonable opportunity to find a rhythm. And Triple-A shortstop Anthony Volpe should be up with the big club, too.
Wait … what? Didn’t he get promoted to that level under a week ago? Correct. And there was no adjustment period.
Four games in, he’s already dictating counts, waiting for his pitch, and spraying clutch hits around the diamond. He’s a better offensive player than the offensive players the Yankees are currently running out on the field. What’s to be lost by giving him another challenge?
The main reason for Volpe’s Sept. promotion — other than the Yankees’ supposed intention to really commit to Peraza at the MLB level — was to get his feet wet early and avoid the same adjustment period he experienced in April/May at Double-A happening again next year in Scranton. So far, so good! So, beyond service time, why not push the envelope again?
Yankees’ Anthony Volpe should be at MLB level
The Yankees cannot hit. Volpe is special. He should be here. This is not complicated.
What’s the downside? Volpe struggles in three or four games and gets permanently humbled? That doesn’t seem to be in his DNA, based on his minor-league track record. And besides, Peraza hasn’t lit the world on fire to start his big-league career, and the fans are still hungry for more. They’ll have more patience with Volpe than with Josh Donaldson.
If the Yankees were rounding into October form and clicking on all cylinders, there’d be no need to insert Volpe into the equation beyond creating stretch-run reps to install some pennant fever, as Derek Jeter detailed in “The Captain” about his brief 1995 promotion. Remember Jesus Montero in 2011? The Yankees used to do this — and, in the case of Montero, it could occasionally change the playoff equation.
But the Yankees aren’t clicking. The offense isn’t just poor. It’s historically empty. Since the All-Star break, it’s one of the game’s worst-performing units, and the Yankees just finished their worst month since Sept. 1991. Why not try?
Promoting Volpe doesn’t have to change the postseason lineup … but presuming things go well (layering presumptions on presumptions), it should! If this team survives to the final bell of the regular season, it will be because some players returned from injury and because the pitching staff held up and the Bombers were able to survive four, five or six extremely tight, low-scoring contests.
If this team doesn’t survive, it will be because they didn’t call up Anthony Volpe to give themselves the best chance to win baseball games.