Heading into the 2023 season, Anthony Volpe was one of the consensus top prospects in the game. He was among the top 10 across all the major publications. His MLB debut was arguably the most anticipated since fans had already seen Gunnar Henderson, Corbin Carroll, James Outman and Triston Casas the year prior.
The results were a mixed bag. Though he came away with the Gold Glove award -- something absolutely worth celebrating -- his inconsistent offense featured concerning spells that made fans wonder if sending him back down to Triple-A was going to be on the table.
In the end, that never happened, but Volpe didn't finish the season strong, either. Somehow, his 20-20 season left a lot to be desired because he hit .209 with a .666 OPS (featuring a very concerning .283 OBP). The power was there. The speed was there. The approach was iffy.
Yankees fans are optimistic for him to take the next steps in Year 2, but once again it really felt as if the organization didn't do right by him. First, there was Volpe's expedited promotion that got everybody excited, but also had many wondering if he was ready for a full 162-game MLB season after just 22 games in Triple-A.
Then there was the chicken parm story that essentially got hitting coach Dillon Lawson fired. Volpe was bounced around the lineup, with Aaron Boone using him as the team's leadoff man before most of his games eventually came in the 8/9 hole. He could barely hit right-handed pitching ... much like the rest of the righties in the Yankees' lineup. After walking 16 times in April, he never registered more than eight walks in a single month for the rest of the season. He struck out 28% of the time.
There weren't supposed to be seven rookies better than Volpe (in the American League alone). That's an indictment on the Yankees' processes.
Anthony Volpe's AL Rookie of the Year finish is an indictment on Yankees' processes
Wonder if Brian Cashman gets what Joel Sherman was asking him now? Volpe got one third-place vote for AL ROY. That's it. Two Red Sox rookies (Casas and Masataka Yoshida) finished ahead of him. Two guys nobody expected to even be relevant in the race (Tanner Bibee and Yainer Diaz) got more recognition.
Volpe was also the first Yankees rookie to get ROY votes since 2018 when Miguel Andújar and Gleyber Torres finished behind Shohei Ohtani. Do teams need top rookies dominating the ROY conversation every year? No. But the infrequency with which they come in New York, coupled with how their development never seems right, remains concerning.
Andújar disappeared off the face of the earth. Torres was a downright bad player for three seasons before rebounding in 2023. Volpe's rollercoaster debut campaign was definitely viewed unfavorably by those who didn't watch him closely ... because how couldn't it be?
Out of all the rookies, we'd also have to say Carroll, Outman, Kodai Senga and Nolan Jones get the nod over Volpe for their 2023 accomplishments, which would make the Yankees shortstop the 12th best rookie in the sport last season.
Again, better days are probably ahead, but this isn't good enough for what the hype train and evaluations sold us on. And it's not Volpe's fault. It's another telltale example of linear development gone terribly wrong, but the hope is Volpe becomes the exception rather than the rule.
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