Anthony Volpe’s ‘rough week’ in Yankees slide highlights his leadoff burden

Anthony Volpe reacts following his strikeout in the Yankees vs. Reds game on July 3, 2024, at Yankee Stadium.
Charles Wenzelberg-NYP
Sara Molnick
Wednesday July 3, 2024

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Anthony Volpe, the young shortstop for the New York Yankees, is experiencing a notable decline in performance. Yankees manager Aaron Boone has acknowledged the sophomore’s recent struggles, pointing out that opposing teams are effectively challenging him within the strike zone.

“It’s been a rough week for him,” Boone conceded. “Teams are attacking him in the strike zone.” 

Since June 26, Anthony Volpe’s numbers have been concerning: a .191 batting average and a .461 OPS over 23 games, with no home runs, 29 strikeouts, and just three walks. His woes continued on Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds, where he went 0-for-5.

Boone suggested that Anthony Volpe might be missing hittable pitches early in counts and expanding his strike zone more than usual. This was evident in the ninth inning when the shortstop, representing the Yankees’ last hope, popped out to end the game, resulting in a 5-4 loss to the Reds.

Yankees star Anthony Volpe is training with a bat in January 2024.

“He probably is missing some pitches early in counts, where he is getting a good pitch to hit,” the Yankees skipper explained. “He’s fouled a lot of pitches off, probably expanding a little more than he has at times this year.” 

The 23-year-old’s current slump is a stark contrast to his strong start to the season. Anthony Volpe had made offseason adjustments to his swing to better handle pitches at the top of the strike zone. These changes initially paid off, with him hitting .372 over a 43-at-bat stretch early in the season.

Anthony Volpe’s early success even led ESPN analyst Paul Hembekides to predict that he would outperform Derek Jeter‘s age-23 season. However, his promising start has faded as he now struggles with pitch selection and execution.

As the Yankees aim to turn things around in July, Anthony Volpe’s ability to regain his early-season form could be crucial to the team’s success.

Yankees fans unhappy over Anthony Volpe’s slump

The shortstop’s slump has coincided with the Yankees’ overall poor performance, as the team finished June with a 4-10 record. While Boone expressed confidence in Anthony Volpe’s ability to rebound, the player’s position as the leadoff hitter could be in jeopardy if his struggles persist.

MLB analyst Chris Towers has raised serious doubts on his ability to fit atop the Yankees’ lineup. According to him, while Anthony Volpe’s defensive skills remain strong, his offensive contributions, particularly in the leadoff spot, have fallen short of expectations. 

Yankees' shortstop Anthony Volpe with outfielder Juan Soto and backstop Austin Wells at Yankee Stadium on June 4, 2024.
Instagram @jstilesphotographer

Recently, a Reddit thread went on fans seeking “more chicken parm’ episodes for Anthony Volpe. A fan noted, “

Just having him in the one spot makes no sense at all, constantly under pressure because every pitcher sees him as a out they must get, can’t use his speed on the basepaths with the two he has behind him. I honestly wouldn’t be mad seeing him hit in the 3 spot and moving judge, and Soto up. Up until this recent struggle his done a good job getting the bat on the ball or walking.”

After Yankees manager Boone said “we’ll see” over the question of taking out Anthony Volpe from leadoff, some fans sought Juan Soto atop the Yankees lineup and the shortstop batting at number three.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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