But, uh, he's also stealing plenty of bases, too. Don't worry about that.
When Anthony Volpe made the Yankees' Opening Day roster somewhat unexpectedly, it was fair to get caught up in the giddiness while still maintaining a degree of earned skepticism.
After all, Volpe famously started slow at both Double-A and Triple-A last season on his way up the ladder; in fact, his slow start in Somerset lasted two months (he hit .197 in April and .207 in May). Outside of magical realism, there were very few reasons to believe he wouldn't experience growing pains early. The hope was that he would put together enough professional quality at-bats that the results wouldn't be as important as the process.
So far, that's been almost exactly how things have played out. Volpe recorded his first three career stolen bases in the season's opening series against the Giants. He lost his legs in a piece of defensive weirdness in the season's second game, but has mostly shown off above-average ability at shortstop. And, after finally getting a breather at his lowest point in Cleveland, he's begun to turn the corner offensively while peaking defensively (and still burning every time he reaches first, acting like a world-class gnat ahead of Aaron Judge).
Volpe leads off now, mostly. He carries himself like some sort of Derek Jeter/Dustin Pedroia hybrid, gliding across the diamond at short and swinging with a voracious appetite. And, over the past week or so, it's all been working.
Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe appears to be turning a professionalism corner
As SNY's Andy Martino observed after a key late-game battle (and line drive single) Wednesday night, Volpe is beginning to piece together a pitcher's plan of attack and pounce more often than he was during the season's first 10 or so games:
""Anthony Volpe's at-bats are not looking like rookie at-bats. He has a plan and is expanding less and less. Clearly trending in right direction.""- Andy Martino
Development will not be linear for Volpe. He also hasn't ascended just yet; he's still sporting an OPS in the mid-.600s. His limited Statcast metrics indicate he has plenty of work to do in creating hard contact, though he's already elite at taking his walks and maximizing his limited arm strength to pile up Outs Above Average.
But oh, that sprint speed. He's in the 84th percentile early, and he's used every bit of that attribute to agitate opposing pitchers every chance he gets.
Luckily for the Yankees, those chances are coming more and more. With their offensive options still limited by injuries, Volpe feels like the leadoff man for the foreseeable future, with DJ LeMahieu slotting in nicely in the middle of the order to cash in on the opportunities once handled by Giancarlo Stanton.
If Volpe can continue the maturation process and align his breakout with Harrison Bader's arrival at the bottom of the lineup, this suddenly-speedy team can wreak a little bit of extra havoc entering May.