Anthony Volpe takes another step to close in on Yankees’ shortstop position

Anthony Volpe at the Yankees’ team-bonding mini golf tournament as Cortes and Rizzo observe him..

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Anthony Volpe, the top prospect for the Yankees, hit a double and a home run to the opposite field on Sunday, when the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox tied in the Grapefruit League. This led Yankees GM Brian Cashman to comment that “Anthony Volpe is doing ‘all he has to do’ in the Yankees’ shortstop race.”

Sunday was the halfway point of the team’s Grapefruit League schedule, and the 21-year-old doesn’t look like he was going to slow down. Anthony Volpe hit a long home run and a double to the opposite field against the Red Sox as he kept trying to win the Yankees‘ shortstop job or, at the very least, make their choice as hard as possible with less than three weeks left in camp.

In Grapefruit League games, he is now hitting .320 with a .433 on-base percentage and an OPS of 1.113 with two homers and eight hits.

“I think there’s a lot of time left, a lot of games left,” Volpe following the game. “For me, it’s just day by day and trying to take advantage of every opportunity. … It’s definitely early, but everyone wants to perform in games. Having that support system and all the guys there to help definitely takes away any feeling like you’re underprepared.”

Boston’s righty Tanner Houck struck out Anthony Volpe in his first at-bat against him. But in his next at-bat, the Yankees shortstop faced Houck again and hit a double to right field. Then, in the fifth inning, Volpe was down 1-2 to veteran reliever Chris Martin when he hit a pitch hard for his second home run of the spring.

“Wow,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Just really good at-bats from him all day. Getting himself in good counts, making good swing decisions, getting some really good ones off all the way to his last one where he hit a ball well again to right field.”

“I think they certainly respect his ability and the way he goes about things,” Boone said. “A lot of our guys, especially our established, core players, I think he’s gotten their attention.”

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Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Volpe has done the same thing in the past and this spring with scouts who have seen him.

“He just comes to beat your ass,” said a National League scout.

There are also uncertainties regarding Anthony Volpe’s long-term position in the field — the NL scout believes Volpe will ultimately be a second baseman, but it wouldn’t surprise him if he stays at shortstop.

A scout for the American League said that Volpe may not have the best foot speed or arm strength for a shortstop, but he makes up for it with his instincts and baseball IQ. When asked if Anthony Volp looks ready to start the season with the Yankees, both scouts said that he should still start at Triple-A because his defense isn’t as good as Oswald Peraza‘s, who they wanted to start at shortstop in the big leagues.

Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Anthony Volpe pose for a photograph during the Yankees 2023 spring training game at Tampa, FL.

But they also said that they wouldn’t be worried if the Yankees started the season with Volpe.

“If they said Volpe starts, I wouldn’t be surprised,” the AL scout said. “There truly is a battle going on.”

Anthony Volpe made the most of his second spring game against the Red Sox, which was played at JetBlue Park, which is the same size as Fenway Park.

Even though he says he’s not interested in the shortstop race, fans see the contrary.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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