Anthony Volpe turns first Yankees with ‘eye-opening’ 20/20 rookie record

Anthony Volpe celebrates with Yankees teammates after he scored a three-run HR vs. the Tigers at Comerica Park on Aug 31, 2023.

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For the majority of fans, the Yankees vs. Tigers game on Thursday afternoon was just a clash between two non-contending teams. However, Anthony Volpe‘s record put it in the annals of baseball history as a memorable game.

The Yankees’ rookie sensation delivered an extraordinary clutch home run. This marked Anthony Volpe’s 20th home run of the season, and he had already swiped an impressive 21 bases. Although his batting average remained on the lower side, the 22-year-old rookie’s talent was unquestionably evident in his remarkable combination of power and speed. His performance in August had shown significant improvement, hinting that Anthony Volpe might be piecing things together and could be on the verge of a breakout season in 2024.

However, the game’s outcome wouldn’t leave a mark in the win-loss column, as the Tigers ultimately triumphed in the 10th inning with a walk-off error, sealing a 4-3 victory at Comerica Park. For now, let’s set aside the game’s result and shine the spotlight on Anthony Volpe.

Anthony Volpe’s Yankees milestone

Achieving the 20-20 milestone of home runs and stolen bases is a noteworthy accomplishment for a rookie, and Anthony Volpe became the first Yankees rookie ever to achieve this feat. For context, when Derek Jeter earned the Rookie of the Year award, he had 10 home runs and 14 steals. Alfonso Soriano, though close, fell two homers short (though he stole an impressive 43 bases). Tony Lazzeri came within two homers and four steals of the mark, while Joe Gordon hit 25 homers but only managed 11 steals, and Mickey Mantle posted numbers of 13 homers and 8 steals in his rookie campaign.

Anthony Volpe hits a three-run HR in the Yankees vs. Tigers game at Comerica Park on Aug 31, 2023.

Here are those with 20/20 records as rookies.

  • Antony Volpe, 2023: 20 HR, 21 SB and counting
  • Bobby Witt Jr., 2022: 20 HR, 30 SB
  • Julio Rodríguez, 2022: 28 HR, 25 SB
  • Marty Cordova, 1995: 24 HR, 20 SB
  • Ellis Burks, 1987: 20 HR, 27 SB
  • Mitchell Page, 1977: 21 HR, 42 SB

Anthony Volpe’s record came amid an offensive slump

On Thursday afternoon in Detroit, the Yankees’ offense appeared to be lacking energy and struggling to score runs. The starting pitcher for the Tigers, Matt Manning, didn’t let the Yankees score any runs during his six innings of strong pitching, and the relief pitchers did the same. So, as the game reached the ninth inning, the Yankees were behind 3-0.

There were runners on first and second bases with just one out in the game. Gleyber Torres ran really fast to first base to prevent the other team from getting two outs in one play, which could have ended the game. As a result, Anthony Volpe had one more opportunity to hit and try to tie the game with a run.

After watching the first pitch go by for a strike, Anthony Volpe swung his bat at a 96 mph sinker thrown by Alex Lange. He managed to hit the ball just enough to send it over the right-field fence. This hit resulted in a three-run home run that tied the game, giving the Yankees a chance to win in the ninth inning.

Of course, they later lost the game in the tenth inning due to an error that allowed the other team to win. However, Yankees manager Aaron Boone had only positive things to say about the 22-year-old player, who consistently demonstrates composure in crucial moments.

Anthony Volpe’s powerful hit wasn’t only significant for the Yankees; it also represented a major achievement in his exceptional first year as a rookie player. He became the 15th rookie in baseball history to achieve this and the first Yankee rookie to do so. Additionally, he became only the second Yankee shortstop to accomplish this impressive feat.

Anthony Volpe during the game between the Yankees vs Tigers, on August 31

Even though the Yankees haven’t had a great season, Anthony Volpe has been one of the few positive aspects. His manager had only good things to say about how well he has performed on offense and defense.

“It’s eye-opening for a kid from Jersey who is 22 years old and wins the job in spring and goes out and does this,” Boone said. “The other part of it is the defensive side, playing shortstop for the New York Yankees and in my eyes right smack in the middle of the Gold Glove conversation.

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