Ex-Yankees shortstop impressed by Anthony Volpe’s potential, foresees a strong rebound

Anthony Volpe, Rizzo, Aaron Judge, and Cortes celebrates after the rookie shortstop Volpe drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in against the Orioles on May 23, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.

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With only one hit in his last 14 at-bats, Anthony Volpe continues to struggle at the plate. His batting average has plummeted to .186, marking the lowest point since April 15. However, a well-known Yankees figure, a face that holds a special place in the hearts of Red Sox fans, is in awe of him and predicts his comeback.

Bucky Dent, the former Yankees shortstop, made his second visit to Yankee Stadium on Sunday night. Despite Aaron Boone resting Anthony Volpe, Dent has seen enough of the talented rookie shortstop to be confident that his difficulties will pass in due course.

Dent backs Anthony Volpe

According to Dent, the rookie shortstop has the potential to become an excellent player. However, he expressed his concern about the player hitting too many balls in the air. Anthony Volpe’s batting average stood at.187 with a total of 78 strikeouts in 225 at-bats. Additionally, he has been charged with seven errors.

Dent stated that Anthony Volpe has been performing well and has demonstrated good range in his play. He reminded that he too joined the Yankees from the White Sox in 1977 at the age of 25, just three years more than the 22-year-old Yankees’ current rookie shortstop.

The former shortstop mentioned that playing in a big city like Chicago prepared him for the experience of playing in New York. He admitted that it took some time to adjust and feel comfortable with his new teammates, including Thurman Munson, Jackson, Nettles, and others. Since he was traded on the last day of spring training, it took him a little while to settle in. However, Dent expressed his love for playing for the Yankees, specifically as a shortstop in New York.

Yankees' Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo pour ice on Anthony Volpe, who hit the winning run against Baltimore at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 20223.

Anthony Volpe also has a deep affection for playing the position of shortstop in New York. He considers it a dream come true, much like it was for Derek Jeter.

Dent mentioned that he was with Texas in 1996 when they faced the Yankees in the playoffs. He observed that Jeter exuded confidence on the field and possessed exceptional athletic abilities. Derek stood out as a larger shortstop, fitting into the era when shortstops began to have a bigger physical presence. Dent emphasized that Derek possessed tremendous talent and was deserving of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Dent sees similarities between Anthony Volpe, Jeter

The Yankees’ decision to put Anthony Volpe in the lineup demonstrated their belief in his character and potential, which they considered to be similar to that of Jeter.

According to Dent, based on his observations of Anthony Volpe in several games, he believes that the young player’s attitude and approach to the game have been satisfactory. Dent acknowledges that Anthony Volpe is currently experiencing challenges in adjusting to the demands of playing in the major leagues and facing elite pitchers regularly, but he expresses confidence that Volpe will overcome these obstacles and develop into a competent player in his position.

“From what I’ve seen of him, I’ve watched quite a few games,” Dent said, “I think his makeup has been fine. He’s going through a little bit of growing pains of playing in the big leagues, facing big-league pitching day in and day out, but I think he’ll grow into the position fine. I think he’ll be fine.”

When the Subway Series against the Mets begins on Tuesday night, Anthony Volpe will enter the game with a total of nine home runs and a perfect stolen base record of 14-for-14. This achievement makes him the first Yankee player to accomplish such a feat.

According to Dent, there is room for improvement in Anthony Volpe’s swing, and Dent believes it would be beneficial for him to focus on hitting more line drives. Dent expressed uncertainty about the specific approach the team is taking with Anthony Volpe’s development but emphasized that he has the potential to become an exceptional player. Dent commended Volpe’s speed, baserunning skills, and overall talent.

“His swing will come,” Dent said. “I’d like to see him hit more line drives. … I don’t know what they’re trying to do with him … but he’s gonna get a chance to be a really, really good player. He runs well, he runs the bases well. He’s got all the ability.”

Boone backs Anthony Volpe

Anthony Volpe of the New York Yankees

Despite a solid start, Anthony Volpe’s performance at the plate has taken a downturn. After hitting .230 with three home runs, nine RBIs, and a .706 OPS in his initial 31 games, his numbers have declined significantly.

In the 35 games leading up to Sunday, Anthony Volpe has struggled with a meager .152 batting average and a .524 OPS, despite managing six home runs and 17 RBIs. Notably, his 77 strikeouts are the highest on the team by a considerable margin, with Aaron Judge coming in second place at 63 strikeouts. Volpe’s strikeout count also ranks as the 10th highest in the entire league.

But Yankees manager Aaron Boone is positive about his shortstop.

“(Volpe) has still had productive at-bats,” the manager said. “He’s got nine homers. He’s gotten a lot of big hits for us. He’s done a lot of big things. He’s done a lot of winning things, even though he’s hitting under .200. Just offensively right now, he’s in the middle of a lot of winning games. While he’s taking his lumps and had his struggles, he’s also had some massive successes, too.”

As Boone pointed out, Anthony Volpe experienced a challenging start last year at Double-A Somerset. In his first 38 games, he struggled with a .183 batting average and a .643 OPS, accompanied by 41 strikeouts in 171 plate appearances.

However, Anthony Volpe showed resilience and made a strong comeback. In the following 18 games, he turned things around by hitting .333 with a .929 OPS, demonstrating his ability to adjust to Double-A pitching. This improvement came after spending the previous season splitting time between Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.

In the 2022 season, Anthony Volpe concluded with 22 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His impressive performance during spring training earned him the starting shortstop position for the Yankees, proving that he had shown enough potential to secure the role.

“I look at it as he’s still productive,’’ Boone said. “He has nine homers [and] a lot of big hits. He’s done a lot of big things, a lot of winning things. Even if he’s hitting under .200, offensively speaking, he’s been in the middle of a lot of winning games. While he’s taken his lumps and had his struggles, he’s also had some massive successes.”

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