Anthony Volpe’s ideal Yankees infield features one shocking choice

Yankees' shortstop Anthony Volpe with outfielder Juan Soto and backstop Austin Wells at Yankee Stadium on June 4, 2024.
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Esteban Quiñones
Sunday June 30, 2024

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On Saturday, the YES Network posted a video of Anthony Volpe talking about his dream infield mates. The young shortstop named his favorite Yankees player for various infield positions.

“The Dart Jeter shortstop, Willie Randolph, second base, Riz at first, A-Rod at third, Posada behind the plate,” said Volpe as he was asked to find his dream infield.

While the four he named boast an incredible legendary status in the Bronx, Volpe’s choice of Rizzo is unexpected.

Derek Jeter: Baseball’s legendary shortstop

Derek Jeter remains the premier shortstop in Yankees history. The 14-time All-Star amassed 3,465 hits over 20 seasons, including 200 postseason hits with 14 instances of batting .350 or higher in October.
A key member of the “Core Four,” Jeter helped secure five World Series titles. His accolades include seven AL pennants, five Gold Gloves, and five Silver Slugger Awards. Jeter’s career slash line stands at .310/.377/.440.

Derek Jeter is giving his Baseball Hall of Fame speech in September 8, 2021, in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Memorable moments include his 2000 World Series leadoff homer, the 2001 “Flip Play,” and his 3,000th hit home run in 2011. Jeter earned AL Rookie of the Year in 1996 and claimed MVP honors in both the 2000 All-Star Game and World Series.

In 2020, Jeter was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with 99.75% of votes, the highest percentage for a position player, falling one vote shy of unanimity.

Willie Randolph: Yankees’ finest second baseman

Willie Randolph stands out as the Yankees’ premier second baseman, despite lacking a Hall of Fame plaque like Joe Gordon or Tony Lazzeri.

Randolph’s game, while short on power with just 54 career home runs, excelled in on-base ability, baserunning, and defensive prowess. His leadership during the tumultuous “Bronx Zoo” era proved invaluable.

Acquired from Pittsburgh in 1975, Randolph immediately claimed the starting role. He contributed to World Series victories in 1977 and 1978, peaking in 1980 with career-highs in several offensive categories.
Over 13 seasons in pinstripes, Randolph posted a .275 average and .374 on-base percentage. His 251 stolen bases lead all Yankees second basemen. Defensively, he ranks among the best of his era, despite never winning a Gold Glove.

Willie Randolph poses for photograph with a plaque he was awarded during opening ceremonies for the Old-Timers' Day baseball game Saturday, June 20, 2015, at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Randolph’s 51.4 fWAR with the Yankees tops all franchise second basemen. He served as co-captain in his final three seasons before departing in 1988. Honored with a Monument Park plaque in 2015, Randolph’s consistent excellence and leadership cement his legacy as the Yankees’ all-time best at second base.

Alex Rodriguez: Enigmatic but ranks among Yankees greats

Despite controversies surrounding his career, Alex Rodriguez stands out as the New York Yankees’ most accomplished third baseman. Acquired in a blockbuster trade with Texas in 2004, Rodriguez faced immense pressure in the Bronx. He not only met expectations but excelled, winning two American League MVP awards (2005, 2007) during his Yankees tenure.

From 2004 to 2010, Rodriguez hit at least 30 home runs with 100 RBI each season. His 2007 campaign was particularly remarkable, leading MLB with 54 homers and 156 RBI. His Yankees statistics are unparalleled among the franchise’s third basemen: 351 home runs, 1,096 RBI, and a 138 wRC+. He amassed 51.5 fWAR over 12 seasons in pinstripes.

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees

While early playoff struggles drew criticism, Rodriguez’s 2009 postseason performance was crucial to the Yankees’ 27th World Series title. He hit .365 with key home runs throughout October, earning the Babe Ruth Award as postseason MVP. Despite PED controversies that marred his legacy, Rodriguez’s on-field contributions cement his status as the Yankees’ premier third baseman.

Jorge Posada: Yankees Core Four elite

Jorge Posada‘s journey to becoming one of baseball’s premier hitting catchers was a long and winding road. Initially drafted as an infielder by the Yankees in 1990, Posada transitioned to catcher in the minors. He didn’t become the team’s primary backstop until 1998, at age 28.

Posada’s breakout came in 2000, when he hit .287 with 28 home runs and earned his first All-Star nod. From 2000 to 2003, he amassed 19.4 fWAR, batting .278 with 100 homers. His 2007 season was particularly remarkable, as he hit .338 and set career highs in several offensive categories.

Yankees legend Jorge Posada

Over his 17-year career, all with the Yankees, Posada slashed .273/.374/.474 with 275 home runs and 1,065 RBIs. He was a key contributor to four World Series titles and six American League pennants.
Despite defensive shortcomings, Posada’s offensive prowess solidified his place as a cornerstone of the Yankees’ modern dynasty. His number was retired in 2015.

Anthony Rizzo: Not as great as other Yankees first baseman

Anthony Rizzo‘s tenure with the New York Yankees has been marked by inconsistency since joining the team in a 2021 trade from the Chicago Cubs. The three-time All-Star and 2016 World Series champion with Chicago has struggled to maintain his form in pinstripes. After a solid 2022 season with 32 home runs, Rizzo’s performance dipped significantly in 2023 following a May collision that resulted in a concussion.

The 2024 season has seen Rizzo’s struggles continue. Through 70 games, he’s batting just .223 with 8 home runs and 28 RBIs. His defensive play at first base has also declined, with five errors already this season.

Rizzo’s slump has led to occasional benchings, including recent games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals. Despite his reputation as a clubhouse leader and philanthropist, Rizzo’s on-field performance has become a concern for the Yankees as they pursue playoff contention.

Yankees' Anthony Rizzo throws his helmet in dejection during the Blue Jays game in Toronto on April 15, 2024.

On June 16, Rizzo left the game with “a right lower arm injury” while playing at Fenway Park. It was found out he had suffered a fractured right forearm after a collision at first base while trying to beat out a grounder. He may not return at least until mid-August.

The Yankees have many illustrious first basemen in history, such as Don Mattingly, Tino Martinez, Jason Giambi, and Mark Teixeira. Rizzo looks a pale shadow of his former Gold Glove career and is outclassed by these legends.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Anthony Volpe’s ideal Yankees infield features one shocking choice

  1. Rizzo cannot compare to any of the AllStar first baseman that have played for the Yankees. I have seen so many
    players at all positions. I liked Mark Teixeira, Don Mattingly at first.
    Rizzo is too injury prone to play every game at that position. He has been very good when healthy defensively. His offense has fallen behind.

  2. Volpe wasn’t born when Mattingly played. Or Lou Gehrig, for that matter. Kid needs a history lesson. Rizzo’s best years were in Chicago. Giambi’s best years were in Oakland. Teixeira’s best years were in Texas. For post 1980, I’d go Mattingly first, Tino second.

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