After a frustrating week for the Yankees, let’s visit one of the major successes of the season: the Farm System.
This has been a brutal week for the Yankees as they lost a frustrating series to the last-place Orioles and followed that up by a dizzying series loss against the Toronto Blue Jays. Their playoff hopes are fading by the day, but they hope for a strong end to the season with their sights set on October. Regardless of how the season ends, one success this year has been the development of the Yankees farm system. No one contributed to this more than Yankees minor league sensation Anthony Volpe.
The Yankees selected Volpe with the 30th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft from the Delbarton School in New Jersey. Born and raised in New Jersey, the right-handed SS batted .488 with 7 home runs, 34 RBI’s, and 17 stolen bases his senior year of high school. With future second overall draft pick Jack Leiter, Volpe led Delbarton to a 26-3 record and the fourth state championship in program history, before being named 2019 New Jersey High School Player of the Year by Perfect Game. He forewent his commitment to play at Vanderbilt University, signing with the Pulaski Yankees of the Rookie Advanced Appalachian League.
His first season of professional ball was limited due to mononucleosis, as in 34 games Volpe batted a mere .215, with an uncharacteristic 25% strikeout rate. Due to the pandemic, Volpe spent 2020 training by himself, where he spent time in the gym working on putting on muscle and adjusting his swing to compete with the higher caliber of pitchers he was facing. According to Mike Baker, Volpe’s trainer, Volpe put on nearly twenty pounds of muscle in the time the Yankees had drafted him. He also adjusted his swing, achieving more and better rotation, while not sacrificing his strength. This has seemed to pay dividends as Volpe’s exit velocity and home run numbers continue to increase.
To start the 2021 season, Volpe was assigned to the Tampa Tarpons, the Low-A affiliate of the Yankees. Volpe came out of the gate hot in Tampa, wherein 54 games Volpe batted .302 with an OBP of .455. The power was there, as Volpe slugged 12 HR, 18 doubles, and 5 triples bringing his wRC+ to 185. The shortstop has also flashed his wheels, swiping 21 bases in 26 attempts. After tearing up Low-A, Volpe was promoted to the Hudson Valley Renegades on July 13th. He picked up right where he left off, as he’s been dominating ever since he was called up. Volpe’s numbers have been amazing, with a .294/.385/.611 slash line. Volpe has been on an absolute tear this season, with scouts showering him with praise. His tools allow him to be a threat on the bases, evident with the 30 stolen bags so far this year. Even more, Volpe possesses stellar defense at SS, his defense being one of the main reasons why the Yankees selected him. Volpe is the complete package at SS, a high contact hitter with pop, elite defensive tools, and good baserunning IQ where he makes the most of his opportunities.
Volpe entered the year as the Yankees number 10 prospect, below guys like Jasson Dominguez and Luis Gil. However, in MLB pipeline’s 2021 rankings, Volpe skyrocketed to the number one spot on the list, becoming the highest-ranked prospect in the entire Yankees farm system. Not only is he highly ranked in the Yankees system, but he is also the number 15 prospect in all of baseball. Volpe’s meteoric rise has proven once again the depth of the Yankees farm system. Along with Volpe, Yankees prospects Oswald Peraza and Trey Sweeney (ranked 3 and 7 respectively), ensure that the Yankees are loaded at the SS position for years to come.