Yankees “shortstop of the future” Anthony Volpe will enter 2023 with the level of unfair pressure typically reserved for Jasson Dominguez.
In some ways, Volpe’s road may be harder to navigate than even the Martian’s. While nonsensical Mike Trout/Bo Jackson comparisons are certainly one thing, battling it out with Derek Jeter’s legacy in terms of both athleticism and leadership is perhaps a more daunting parallel.
After all, Yankee fans saw every step of Jeter’s journey, and have also watched the team pass on signing high-dollar targets like Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and Trea Turner to account for Volpe’s future. That future had better be bright. These fans know what a shortstop and leader can be.
There’s a reason rival MLB executives are already getting the jump on calling Volpe overrated. They know that, if Yankee fans get what they want here, the city will be insufferable once again.
It’s unlikely Volpe’s reign begins on Opening Day, but manager Aaron Boone became the latest Yankees figure to give him an outside shot at the job that probably belongs to Oswald Peraza. This week, he reiterated how excited the team is about their shortstop crunch, and laid plain that he plans to give Volpe “a lot of reps” to potentially force his way into his future domain.
Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe will have “lots of reps” in Spring Training to prove his worth
Though Boone called February and March a “battle” for the starting shortstop role, it does seem likely that the Yankees will shy away from Volpe unless he forces his way in. Additionally, the team opened the door just as much for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was long ago discarded by the fan base at large.
"“He hasn’t had a lot of Triple-A time, but you never know,’’ Boone said. “He could still kick the door in and force the onus [of a decision] on us. We’ll have to see how it plays out and make a decision there.”As for Kiner-Falefa, who was benched in the playoffs due to what Boone called “pressing” on defense, the manager said, “[He’s] a guy who we feel is capable of being a starting big-league shortstop.”"
If you genuinely believe Volpe could end up as the team’s starting shortstop after just 22 Triple-A games, then we have an IKF Monument Park plaque to sell you.
With this much pressure on him to produce — from the fan base and media — it’s in the team’s best interest to give the shortstop the longest runway possible this spring. That said, those reps will probably lead back to Scranton.