OK ... so this is as real as it gets, right? First, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Anthony Volpe earlier in the offseason that he'd be in the running for the Opening Day shortstop job. Then Volpe started to tear it up at Spring Training. And now manager Aaron Boone is providing some sort of clarity?
Never thought we'd see the day! Tucked into MLB insider Jon Heyman's latest column in the New York Post was some Boone commentary on Volpe and the influence he's had on the team since arriving in Tampa.
Volpe isn't quite as hot as Jasson Dominguez, but the 21-year-old is hitting .321 with a 1.103 OPS, two homers, two RBI and three stolen bases across 28 at-bats (the most of any Yankees hitter this spring). He's also flashed the leather on the defensive side at shortstop and second base, building an even better case to come up north on March 30 due to his versatility.
Now that Harrison Bader is expected to be out for the first few weeks of the season, that creates a lane for Volpe since Oswaldo Cabrera (and now, apparently Isiah Kiner-Falefa) will be getting more outfield reps to address the void.
Even without that wrinkle, though, it sounds as if Boone was confident in Volpe's chances based on what he told Heyman on Tuesday.
Will Anthony Volpe make the New York Yankees' Opening Day roster?
"He’s come in here with a lot of expectations and eyeballs on him, and he’s performed. It’s been fun to be around him and fun to watch him play the game ... He’s definitely in the mix."- Aaron Boone, via the NY Post
Hey, good things happen when you take your cap off for Lou Piniella! We didn't get the patented "ya knows" and stammering from Boone in an effort to hide the truth or avoid speaking on something he didn't entirely know the answer to. It makes sense, too, based on everything Yankees fans have heard from insiders and pundits.
If you ask owner Hal Steinbrenner, though, don't get too excited. But maybe you actually should since he isn't in charge of any roster decisions outside of doling out the big bucks for Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge and Carlos Rodón.
Volpe already has Judge's endorsement. Both Cashman and Boone haven't been guarded in their responses when asked about the top prospect. Others from Willie Randolph to Michael Kay also seem to be on board with his promotion.
Two weeks left. Tick tock.