Yankees' Anthony Volpe has unveiled new swing, approach and they're wonderful

2024 New York Yankees Spring Training
2024 New York Yankees Spring Training / New York Yankees/GettyImages

In 2023, Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe put up perhaps the worst 20 homer/20 stolen base/Gold Glove rookie season in MLB history.

Tongue is only slightly in cheek there, too. The 22-year-old deserves all the credit in the world for the stability of his glove and the flashes of power during a full season at the MLB level, with barely more than a stopover at Triple-A. The rest of his game didn't match up with the way he'd previously performed, though. The swing was too uppercut. The bat path sold out for power rather than an impressive spray chart. The aggression on the bases ... oddly disappeared as the season dragged on (13 stolen bases in March/April/May, 11 the rest of the year)?

By the end of the season, Volpe was fighting to stay above .200 rather than reveling in what should've been a post-chicken parm breakout. His .209 average and .666 OPS/81 OPS+, impacted by a September swoon (.163/.482 OPS in the month), was not good enough, no matter the accolades.

There were flashes, of course. Volpe's midseason work resulted in seven bombs, 21 RBI, and an .889 OPS in August -- but, knowing this kid, the corresponding .256 average still ate at him prior to September's arrival. Even his peaks, while promising, weren't satisfactory.

So, given that he clearly has no interest in dialing things down and taking any feet off the gas pedal in any context, as soon as the season ended, he got to work, reportedly reshaping his bat path and, as a result, channeling his aggressive mentality into better execution.

On Thursday, a clearly yoked-up Volpe pistoned a 105.2 MPH liner into the left-center field gap, turning on the jets (probably four weeks before he should've, but love the effort) and careening into second base for a hustle double.

Yankees' Anthony Volpe's new swing and approach getting him back to aggressive mode

Spring results don't matter, necessarily, but when spring results come as a result of pivotal offseason changes ... there's something to latch onto there.

Tarnish Brian Cashman and Co. all you want for numerous trade deadline offenses, but they made sure to continue to note that Volpe had earned the shortstop position and would hold onto it throughout 2023, even as his numbers crashed and burned (and, yes, the counting stats looked fine at the end of the year, but they represented a different guy).

This year, he's the incumbent. The job is very much his. He's got a little bit of hardware and a one-year taste of the big leagues, as well as a harsh reminder of just how often even the most talented hitters have to adjust.

Add his relentless mindset and dogged mentality to his cleaned up mechanics, and there might not be many Yankee fans writing off 2023's supposed prodigy much longer.