2022 Prospect Preview: Anthony Volpe

Photo credit: MLB.com


If you follow the Yankees at all, chances are you've heard about the prime new top prospect at shortstop, Anthony Volpe.


Yankees’ brass is seemingly pinning all of its hopes on Volpe, as Hal and Cash didn’t run out during the offseason to get a marquee shortstop (looking at you, Carlos Correa) but instead, brought in Isiah Kiner-Falefa.  The strategy to outsiders looks like the Front Office is holding out for that moment that Volpe gets the call. 


Volpe is the No. 1 prospect in the Yankees system, and he is No. 10 on Baseball America’s list of Top 100 MLB prospects.  According to Yahoo! Sports, “Volpe will likely not make the team’s [2022] 28-man roster,” at least not right out of the gate.  However, he was invited to the Yankees’ camp for spring training, and he was recently announced as the winner of the 2021 Kevin Lawn Award -- which is traditionally presented to the Yankees’ top minor league position player and pitcher.  Volpe is in good company, too -- previous Lawn Award winners include the likes of Derek Jeter and Aaron Judge.

Below is the MLB Pipeline assessment on Volpe:

Hit: 60 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 60 

The Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.) featured a pair of future first rounders in 2019, with Volpe signing for $2,740,300 as the 30th overall pick that summer and Jack Leiter going No. 2 overall last year after two seasons at Vanderbilt. Mononucleosis limited Volpe to 34 game in a ho-hum pro debut but he blew away all expectations in his first full pro season in 2021. MLB Pipeline named him the Hitting Prospect of the Year after he batted .294/.423/.604 with 27 homers and 33 steals in 109 games between Low-A and High-A while topping the Minors in runs (113) and ranking second in OPS (1.027) and ranking third in extra-base hits (68). 

Left on his own for development in 2020 after the pandemic shut down the Minor League season and the Yankees didn't stage a domestic instructional league program, Volpe added significant strength and reworked his right-handed swing to allow him to hit balls harder and drive them in the air more easily. Once he was fully healthy, he made more consistent contact against all types of pitching and showed the patience to wait for pitches he can punish and to take walks when he doesn't get them. Originally projected as a hit-over-power type, he now looks capable of hitting .280 with 25-30 homers per season. 

Volpe also comes with outstanding makeup and quality instincts that help his tools play up on the bases and in the field. His solid speed and aggressive nature translated into 33 steals in 42 attempts last season. His arm earns fringy to solid grades but he compensates with a good internal clock and a quick release. He has the fast hands and feet to play at least an average shortstop.


In 2021, Volpe went 121-for-412, batting .294 with 113 runs, 27 home runs and 86 RBI, combined with the Low-A Tampa Tarpons and the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades.  While he has not yet recorded a hit during Yankees spring training games in 2022, his combined numbers previous to his time at Yankees camp show serious potential.  I agree with the assessment that Volpe, at age 20, is not ready for the call just yet, but the future is bright.


Article by: Mary Grace Donaldson

 

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