Despite his struggles, Yankees rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe is in an advantageous place. He's had his fair share of shining moments, which have masked the escalating strikeout rate and assorted ugly pockets of his freshman orientation. He's among the Yankees' leaders in bWAR, despite the bWARTS of his rookie campaign.
And, best of all, every Yankee fan on earth wants him to succeed. He's their beloved next of kin. There isn't a boo bird out there who isn't rooting for Volpe and, quite often, he's given the fans reason to smile already while he's gained valuable experience.
All this to say ... there's no need for anyone on the Yankees' coaching staff to sugar coat it. Volpe's excelled, at times, but he's certainly going through visible growing pains. That's why hitting coach Dillon Lawson's quote this week to Ken Rosenthal about Volpe's season rang hollow, much like when he claimed the team shouldn't be looking at offensive stats to judge their offensive progress.
Lawson's new greatest hit, which definitely won't be thrown back in Yankee fans' faces with cackling laughter? Volpe is hitting a "professional" .200, and that's good. A "reckless .200" would be unprofessional, and therefore bad. Got it.
Yankees hitting coach Dillon Lawson says Anthony Volpe is hitting a 'professional' .200
Are we on another planet? I know it looks like NYC is on Mars because of the Canadian wildfires, but are we actually on Mars?
Lawson's trying to be kind, but he doesn't need to be. Yankee fans have watched Volpe go 14-for-14 in stolen bags thus far this season. They've watched him rip nine homers and knock in 26 runs. They're very much on his side already.
The only problem with Volpe's season? His patient approach seems to have disappeared, somewhat, in May and June. He's walked less as the year has dragged on. It would be nice to see that propensity for taking his base stay steady -- or improve -- as he gets more comfortable in the majors. That responsibility falls on Lawson's shoulders.
And yet ... here we are. Modern baseball is a trip. Players like Joey Gallo hit .200 or below with regularity, but since we finally have the statistical measures to appreciate their contributions, they get praise they never would've received in previous eras. And that's great! But Volpe, a power-hitting shortstop with a propensity for spraying line drives around (at his peak) isn't that kind of player. Hopefully, endorsing his "professional .200" isn't Lawson's way of saying that he thinks his work here is done.