The New York Yankees have included top prospect Anthony Volpe on their 2023 Opening Day roster. Volpe is set to be the Yankees starting shortstop following the promotion, and he battled Oswald Peraza and Isiah Kiner-Falefa for the job in spring training.
Here he is getting the news on Sunday from manager Aaron Boone:
Welcome to The Show, AV! pic.twitter.com/Gq5VMRvqN0— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 26, 2023
Volpe, a 21-year-old, played in 110 Double-A and 22 Triple-A games last season, hitting .249/.342/.460 with 35 doubles, two triples, 21 homers and 50 stolen bases. CBS Sports ranked Volpe as the No. 12 prospect in baseball entering the season. Here's R.J. Anderson's scouting report:
Volpe enjoyed a breakout 2021 season, homering 27 times after adding muscle to his frame. He didn't match that performance last season -- he outright struggled during a 22-game introduction to Triple-A, striking out 30 percent of the time -- thereby delaying his debut until sometime next summer. Volpe still projects as an above-average hitter who can contribute in each of the slash line categories. Defensively, he'll have to continue to prove that he can make all the plays at short despite a substandard arm. It's possible that he'll eventually end up at the keystone.
Volpe swung a hot bat this spring. Heading into Sunday's action, he went 16 for 51 (.314) with six doubles, a triple, three homers, five RBI, 13 runs and five stolen bases. With the Yankees having already started to move Kiner-Falefa around the field as a utility backup, it looked like the path might be clear for Peraza, but Volpe's work this spring appears to have won the team over.
Volpe received a congratulatory message from Derek Jeter on Twitter on the eve of his MLB debut. "There's nothing like playing shortstop for the New York Yankees," Jeter wrote.
Congratulations @Volpe_Anthony. There’s nothing like playing shortstop for the New York Yankees. https://t.co/wP5eeezgbj— Derek Jeter (@derekjeter) March 29, 2023
Volpe was the Yankees' first-round pick out of high school in 2019 and has made a quick trip to the majors despite there being no minor-league season in 2020. His name was mentioned in trade talks a few times in recent years, but it was usually due to other teams asking the Yankees about him and the Yankees refusing to include him in any trade packages.
It's possible Volpe starts the season hitting ninth for the Yankees, but that could be a prime spot after the first time through the order with his stolen-base speed in front of the top of the order, serving as a bit of an extra leadoff man with Aaron Judge sitting in the two-hole in front of other sluggers like Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton.
This will very likely mark an offensive upgrade at the shortstop position for the Yankees. Yankees shortstops last season hit .247/.308/.316. Defense, of course, factors in as well. In terms of wins above average by position, the Yankees ranked 15th last season.