FanGraphs’ Anthony Volpe stat needs to wake Yankees up for 2023
Let’s see if the New York Yankees can get it right for the first time since 2019. Can they start a true shortstop at the position on Opening Day? In 2020 and 2021 it was Gleyber Torres, who is not a shortstop. In 2022 it was Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who is a good utility player.
In 2023 it better be Oswald Peraza or, in a more bold move, Anthony Volpe. At the very least, Volpe should be making his MLB debut no more than six weeks (and that’s being generous) into the season.
Some fans were calling for the Yankees to promote Volpe in September after the organization’s No. 1 prospect caught fire throughout the summer. New York needed any and all help it could get in the form of energetic life.
Instead, Volpe was promoted to Triple-A. He could use a bit more time there to burnish his skills, but he won’t need much. The former first-round pick has already flashed all of his tools at the highest minor-league level in just 22 games even though his all-around stats didn’t blow you away in that small sample size.
In fact, if there was any statistic that showed Volpe is ready for The Show and that the Yankees need to wake up when handling his development in 2023, it’s this:
Anthony Volpe should be considered for the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup
That’s a literal generational talent in the making. Sure, the Yankees might want to see Volpe cut down on his strikeouts, improve his batting average, and be fully ready to handle the most important defensive position on the field … but how much longer is it going to take?
With various top prospects across the league getting the call to MLB before they’re “fully ready,” the Yankees need to get in on the trend — something we’ve already discussed at length. Not every prospect’s journey is linear. Not every prospect figures out every kink in the minor leagues. Not every prospect views the middle of Pennsylvania as a premier setting to remain in peak mental and physical shape in preparation for the biggest call of their life.
Volpe’s been the best player on every minor league team he’s been on to date, from Single-A to Triple-A. Insert him into the Yankees’ lineup and he’ll be protected by some of the best hitters in baseball. That’ll help him see more pitches and be more selective and/or aggressive. Put him in an infield with two Gold Glove-caliber fielders (Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rizzo, if he re-signs) and a fellow peer up the middle, and that’ll greatly support his defensive game.
If he’s already running into this many home runs and stealing this many bases as the rest of his game continues to make strides, then what’s the wait? If he’s viewed as the future, treat him like the future.
Volpe should be in the starting lineup no later than mid-May.