Vaunted Vanderbilt dream of pairing Anthony Volpe with Spencer Jones set to materialize in Bronx

Anthony Volpe and Spencer Jones of the New York Yankees

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Anthony Volpe and Spencer Jones, two of the brightest young prospects in the Yankees organization, could have been teammates in a different setting. Both players were part of Vanderbilt University’s highly-touted 2019 recruiting class, envisioned by head coach Tim Corbin as potential cornerstones of his program.

However, the Yankees saw something special in Anthony Volpe and decided to play their hand early. Leveraging his local ties to the New York area, they used their first-round pick in the 2019 draft to select him. This move ultimately convinced Anthony Volpe to forego his commitment to Vanderbilt and sign a professional contract with the Yankees, effectively ending his collegiate baseball career before it even began.

Corbin expressed on Monday via phone that sometimes when dealing with such recruitment processes, teams had to let some prospects go. However, he admitted that losing Anthony Volpe stung.

Anthony Volpe’s journey from Vanderbilt’s commitment to a rising star in the Yankees organization paved the way for a fruitful connection between the team and the prestigious university. Three years after drafting him, the Yankees revisited the 2019 recruiting class, selecting outfielder Spencer Jones with their first-round pick. Jones’ impressive development during his junior season, transitioning from a two-way player to a focused outfielder, solidified his potential.


This isn’t an isolated incident. The Yankees’ pick of George Lombard Jr. last summer strengthens the evidence of a pattern. It appears the Yankees are drawn to prospects who embody the qualities Tim Corbin prioritizes at Vanderbilt – players whose character shines as brightly as their on-field talent.

This focus on well-rounded individuals is evident in Corbin’s descriptions of both Jones and Anthony Volpe, highlighting the striking similarities in their character traits. The Yankees seem to have found a successful formula by seeking players who align with Vanderbilt’s development philosophy, suggesting a potentially long-lasting and productive pipeline.

Corbin described Jones as a person with a gentle demeanor, displaying empathy, yet harboring a strong competitive drive internally. According to him, Jones is not the type to be overly vocal or expressive, but rather deeply immersed in the game. Corbin expressed confidence in Jones’s potential for a successful and enduring career in baseball.

During the recruitment process, Tim Corbin had a front-row seat to Anthony Volpe’s potential. The qualities that later attracted the Yankees were readily apparent to Corbin as well. He recognized Anthony Volpe’s maturity, his unwavering dedication to both baseball and academics and his positive influence as a teammate. Corbin aptly described this as an “ever-ready battery type personality,” highlighting the shortstop’s infectious energy and leadership.

Spencer Jones, a prospect of the new york yankees

This well-rounded profile likely played a significant role in the Yankees‘ decision to trust Anthony Volpe as their starting shortstop last season, even as he faced various challenges. Their faith in his character and work ethic suggests a long-term commitment to his development.

Corbin expressed his admiration for Anthony Volpe, highlighting him as a championship-caliber individual. He believed that Volpe possessed the qualities necessary to elevate a team, citing his personality, charisma, energy, and skill as key attributes that could positively impact a program.

The connection between Anthony Volpe and Spencer Jones

The connection between Anthony Volpe and Spencer Jones goes beyond their shared experience as Vanderbilt recruits targeted by the Yankees. Their paths crossed even earlier on the high school baseball scene.


While details on the exact timeframe are unclear, they did share a stint as teammates at some point. However, Jones’ dual role as a left-handed pitcher in high school also led him to face Anthony Volpe on the opposing side. This competitive encounter occurred during the Area Code Games, a prestigious showcase event for top high school prospects. Interestingly, Anthony Volpe, already on the Yankees’ radar, donned their pinstripes, while Jones represented his home state of California playing for the Brewers’ squad.

These shared experiences, both as teammates and rivals, likely fostered a mutual respect and understanding that could translate well to their future as teammates within the Yankees organization.

Jones commented with a grin that he didn’t think his encounter with Anthony Volpe went smoothly before hitting a double in the Yankees’ 5-4 loss to the Mets at Clover Park. He acknowledged that the shortstop was considered one of the top shortstops in his class and has always posed a challenge as an opponent. Jones is relieved that Anthony Volpe is now on his team, rather than being on the opposing side.

Anthony Volpe remarked that he couldn’t recall his performance against Jones. The rookie commended Jones as an exceptional player, noting his impressive physicality. He expressed enjoyment at having the opportunity to play alongside him once more.

The connection between Anthony Volpe and Spencer Jones predates their shared journey as future Yankees. A strong bond had already formed before the Yankees entered the picture.

This foundation was laid during their visit to Vanderbilt as part of the 2019 recruiting class. They weren’t alone – Anthony Volpe’s close friend and high school teammate, Jack Leiter, also joined them on this official campus visit.

The visit aimed to showcase the Vanderbilt experience, offering a variety of activities beyond baseball. They attended a thrilling basketball game, enjoyed a captivating magic show, pumped up their adrenaline with go-karting, and explored the vibrant city of Nashville through a guided tour. These experiences likely went a long way in solidifying the camaraderie within the recruiting class, fostering friendships that could potentially extend to their professional careers.

Initially, Tim Corbin anticipated a higher chance of Spencer Jones, with his imposing 6-foot-6 frame, being drafted and potentially signing out of high school compared to Anthony Volpe. However, a senior year pitching injury resulted in a fractured arm for Jones, ultimately leading him to Vanderbilt after a 31st-round selection.

This turn of events proved pivotal. The Yankees, already impressed with Anthony Volpe and capitalizing on his local ties, were able to secure him as the 30th overall pick. Had Volpe opted for Vanderbilt, the Yankees’ drafting strategy, focused on later first-round selections, might have meant they wouldn’t have had another shot at him. This unforeseen injury, combined with the Yankees’ draft approach, effectively altered the course for both Anthony Volpe and the team, paving the way for their eventual reunion within the organization.

Jones remarked that Corbin possesses the ability to attract players from various regions who share similar attributes of valuing teamwork and aiming for victory. He expressed a desire to have Anthony Volpe join them on campus but acknowledged that the outcome was beyond their control. Jones believes that the situation ultimately benefitted both parties involved.

While fate steered Spencer Jones and Anthony Volpe onto separate paths, their Vanderbilt connection remains intriguing. Jones, alongside the Commodores, reached the pinnacle of college baseball, reaching the 2021 College World Series finals. In a parallel universe, Anthony Volpe could have been a teammate, sharing in that thrilling journey and contributing to their title chase.

Spencer Jones, player of the new york yankeesY

Fast forward to the present, and the Yankees have a different, but equally exciting, vision. There’s a strong possibility, potentially by the end of this season or latest by 2025, that both Anthony Volpe and Jones will be key contributors to the Yankees’ championship quest. Their shared past as Vanderbilt recruits, combined with their individual talents, could translate into a potent force on the field for the Yankees, bringing them closer to that elusive World Series trophy.

Anthony Volpe expressed his excitement, noting, “It’s definitely exciting, especially considering what we’ve all witnessed so far.”

At just 22 years old (with their 23rd birthdays on the horizon), Anthony Volpe and Spencer Jones are quickly carving out significant roles in the Yankees’ core.

Anthony Volpe, already a celebrated Gold Glove shortstop, is primed for a breakout season. His defensive prowess is undeniable, but the expectation is for him to take strides offensively as well. Meanwhile, Jones has impressed during spring training with his power-hitting and blazing speed, showcasing his potential as a dominant center fielder.

While Jones recently returned to the minor league camp, manager Aaron Boone recognized his immense talent, commenting on Tuesday that Jones is “only beginning to tap into his potential in baseball.” This suggests a clear vision for Jones’ future development within the organization.

The Yankees faithful can be excited about the prospect of these young stars reaching their full potential. Their talent and dedication, coupled with Boone’s guidance, could be the formula for a successful future for the team.

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