Anthony Volpe is ready to take advantage of the opportunity

Anthony Volpe plays at shortstop during Yankees spring training camp.

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This story was taken from the Yankees Beat newsletter written by Bryan Hoch.

When Anthony Volpe reviewed his first week of big league spring training, there was one moment that stood out more than all the ground balls and swings in batting practice.

“Being able to sit on the bench with Willie Randolph and talk to him,” said Anthony Volpe.

MLB Pipeline ranks the 21-year-old infielder as the team’s No. 1 prospect and the No. 5 prospect in all of Major League Baseball. This one sentence may sum up why the Yankees and their fans should be so excited about him.

Anthony Volpe got a taste of the big league last spring when he was asked to play in five Grapefruit League exhibition games across the street from New York’s player development complex. Now he is in camp as one of the self-described “Back Half Bombers,” working out with prospects like outfielder Jasson Domnguez and infielder Andres Chaparro.

“This is a cool opportunity,” Anthony Volpe said. “That last camp when I was up here for a couple of games, I was trying to make a good impression and play well. Anytime I get out on the field, I’m going to try and compete in the game and be the best player I can be. Whatever happens after that, I can’t really control.”

Anthony Volpe looked at the locker where his No. 77 jersey was hanging and thought about how he went from being a Yankees fan as a kid to becoming a player for the team. The man from Watchung, New Jersey, remembers with fondness going to games in the Bronx during the 2009 World Series season when Derek Jeter was his favorite player. Now he will get to play with Aaron Judge, who is the new captain.

“I grew up loving and idolizing Derek Jeter,” Anthony Volpe said. “Being able to watch and see how my teammates who have gotten called up speak of him, I don’t think there’s a better representation of carrying on the torch than Judge.”

Aaron Boone, the manager of the Yankees, thinks that there will be a lot of competition for at-bats at shortstop this spring. Oswald Peraza is challenging Isiah Kiner-Falefa after a strong September that led to the No. 3 prospect in New York getting a start in the playoffs. Even though Anthony Volpe has had only 99 at-bats at the Triple-A level, Boone has been impressed by how well he knows the strike zone and how hard he can hit the ball.

“One thing that’s apparent is this guy loves the game,” Boone said. “This guy is a baseball rat. He has worked incredibly hard this winter, going between the northeast and Tampa. Just by all reports every step of the way, just the kind of leader and charisma in the way people would rally around him at every stop. You get around him a little bit and you have that [feeling] like this is a guy with elite makeup that you hope for.”

Hal Steinbrenner, the managing general partner of the Yankees, has said that he sees Peraza and Anthony Volpe as important parts of the team’s future in the middle infield. Volpe said that he has been working out at both shortstop and second base this spring so he will be ready whenever that chance comes.

“Hopefully, the day does come that I get to play for the Yankees, but the work isn’t even close to stopping there,” Anthony Volpe said. “There’s a lot of things that I want to accomplish, like being able to play [in] and help them win a World Series. I feel like I couldn’t be in a better organization to help do that.”

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