Aaron Judge gives Anthony Volpe formula to unlock his ‘unstoppable’ talent

Aaron Judge and Anthony Volpe of the New York Yankees.

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Anthony Volpe‘s rookie season with the Yankees offered a glimpse of his immense potential. Despite finishing with a modest .209 batting average and facing struggles against major-league pitchers, his achievements were undeniable. He became the first Yankee rookie ever to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases, an impressive feat that landed him a Gold Glove Award – making him only the second shortstop in franchise history (after Derek Jeter) to achieve such a feat.

However, translating these flashes of brilliance into sustained consistency remains a crucial hurdle for the 22-year-old. Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ veteran slugger, believes Anthony Volpe’s key to unlocking his full potential lies in prioritizing putting the ball in play. Judge, known for his own discipline and plate approach, sees this as the key to unlocking Anthony Volpe’s true offensive potential.

Judge expressed his belief in the significant impact Anthony Volpe could have by utilizing the entire field with his speed, stating in a recent episode of ‘The Mayor’s Office’ that if the rookie could direct the ball to the right field, he would have the potential to be unstoppable. According to Judge, hitting to right field could result in Anthony Volpe reaching base and quickly turning a single into a double or even a triple if he steals third.

Yankees' Anthony Volpe is with Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo at Yankee Stadium.

Words of Aaron Judge Could Springboard Anthony Volpe

Judge emphasized the importance for Anthony Volpe to put the ball in play and utilize the entire field, even if it results in ground balls, as it would enable him to apply pressure on opposing defenses. According to Judge, if the rookie shortstop directs the ball on the ground and forces the defense to execute challenging plays, his speed provides him with the ability to beat out many of those balls in the infield. Judge emphasized the significance of Anthony Volpe using the opposite side of the field consistently.

Aaron Judge wasn’t just impressed by Anthony Volpe’s flashes of power and speed in his rookie season; he also pinpointed specific areas for improvement. Judge highlighted the shortstop’s on-base percentage, which dipped to .283 in 2023 compared to his minor league numbers. Statcast data revealed 167 strikeouts in 159 games, with a concerningly low 22.8% of hits going to the opposite field.

Judge believes refining Anthony Volpe’s ability to handle breaking balls could significantly reduce his swing-and-miss tendencies. This approach aligns with the Yankees captain’s own emphasis on plate discipline and making consistent contact.

However, Judge isn’t just diagnosing the problem; he’s offering guidance. He commends Anthony Volpe’s dedication and competitive spirit, noting improvements since training together during the offseason. Judge’s confidence in the shortstop’s ability to adapt and develop shines through, suggesting he believes the young talent is primed for a breakout sophomore season.

Yankees' Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo pour ice on Anthony Volpe, who hit the winning run against Baltimore at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 20223.

While the raw talent and potential are undeniable, Anthony Volpe’s ability to incorporate Judge’s advice and translate his flashes of brilliance into consistent performance will be key. If he can improve his plate discipline, handle breaking balls better, and learn from a seasoned veteran like Judge, Anthony Volpe could become a crucial contributor for the Yankees and live up to the hype surrounding him.

Judge remarked that Anthony Volpe faced numerous challenges upon entering the big leagues, particularly in New York’s demanding market and stadium environment. However, Judge noted that the rookie hero embraced these challenges, expressing a desire for high expectations and pressure. Judge expressed his excitement for Anthony Volpe’s attitude, highlighting their discussions during the offseason where the shortstop shared adjustments he had already made and sought feedback on his progress and training approaches.

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