There has been a contingent of New York Yankees fans who have been quick to judge rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe’s production, and argue that he should be sent down to Triple-A for further development.
At the time of this article, the Yanks remain in the thick of the Wild Card race, taking four out of six on a key homestand and stealing a critical weekend set against the Texas Rangers. Receiving valuable play from Volpe going forward could provide a real boost to an ailing lineup.
Given the recent discourse surrounding the young shortstop and the fact that we're nearing the All-Star break, it seems appropriate to check in on his big league progression.
Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe: Improving or Regressing?
Over his last seven games, Volpe has slashed .222/.364/.444; a solo home run has served as his only RBI. It has appeared as though his outcomes have improvedsince making an adjustment to his batting stance prior to the Subway Series. His presence sparking Sunday's game-winning rally with a stung double did not go unnoticed.
On the year, he ranks in the 58th percentile in terms of Barrel% and the 61st percentile in terms of Hard Hit%. Additionally, Volpe ranks in the 82nd percentile in terms of Sprint Speed, an attribute that has certainly helped him nab a team-high 15 stolen bases.
One would be remiss if they did not mention the aspects of Volpe’s game that he will have to improve upon. He is in the 39th percentile in terms of chase rate, and the 8th percentile in terms of K%. Both of these marks are concerning, since he’s not a player who will hit for overwhelming power numbers. There's no denying it: he strikes out too much, to the point where it seems he's trying to imitate a different type of player. But can that mood adjustment be easily accomplished in the minors, away from big-league pitching?
For as much as fans and the Yankee organization enjoy seeing the 22-year-old show flashes of power, Volpe will ultimately be more effective with a selective approach at the plate that allows him to maintain a solid on base percentage.
To achieve this ideal brand of play, Volpe will have to become more disciplined and improve his chase rate. Doing so will also help him limit strikeouts and cultivate better habits. Long term, New York may see Volpe as a potential leadoff hitter who can set the table for the heart of the order.
While Anthony Volpe has not had a perfect rookie campaign, his speed and recent slash line present reasons to remain optimistic as his MLB journey takes shape.