Anthony Volpe - Cause for Concern?
By Paul Semendinger
October 6, 2023
The following came up in the comments earlier today and I felt this deserved its own article.
It's a short article, but, I think necessary for perspective...
In 2023, Anthony Volpe did not produce overall as a batter. He didn't. As fans, we wish he did. We wish he arrived. But he simply did not.
A .209 batting average is not good.
A .283 on-base percentage is not good.
He didn't (as so many say) get appreciatively better after the "chicken parm" situation. He hit only .200 in the season's second half. He batted just .163 in September/October.
Volpe's OPS+ for 2023 was 83.
In 159 games, Anthony Volpe struck out 167 times. He struck out in 27.8% of his at bats.
There is not a lot there to get excited about.
I wish he had had a good year with the bat. He didn't. These are just the facts. We can wish they were otherwise, but then we'd be just lying to ourselves.
We can hope that he improves greatly in 2024. But there is more, and I believe I am the first to ever report on or notice this trend...
Please see the following regarding Anthony Volpe's batting average every season since 2021 (he played in only in 34 games in 2019 and that was before he missed the 2020 season due to Covid. For the record, he batted only .215 in 2019.):
2021 - Tampa (A) - .302
2021 - Hudson Valley (A+) - .286
2022 - Somerset (AA) - .251
2022 - Scranton (AAA) - .236
2023 - New York (MLB) - .209
As Anthony Volpe has climbed the ladder through the system, there has been only one result regarding his batting average - each time he has moved up, his batting average has gone down.
This isn't advanced analytics. This is reality. This is how he has performed. I understand that there is more to hitting stats than just batting average, but I also believe that batting average matters. A .300 batting average still says, "This guy can hit" and a .209 average says he cannot hit very well.
Might that trend change? Sure. Volpe has never had multiple seasons at any level. His progression up the ladder has been too steady for that to occur. Maybe, as he plays multiple years at the big leagues, we'll see an improvement. Maybe.
On the other hand, there is little in this profile (thus far as a professional, at least) to indicate that Anthony Volpe can turn it around and be a more productive hitter. The reason for this is he has never done that. He has never done better as the talent around him has improved. This is a cause for concern. People can debate me on this, but I'm not wrong. It is a cause for concern.
Adding to this concern is the fact that the Yankees have a very poor track record with their hitting prospects. The only one who has had any long-term success since 2006, is Aaron Judge. The Yankees organization has not been able to demonstrate an ability to get the most out of their young talent. Again, that's just a fact.
All of this is concerning.
Heading into 2024, the Yankees seem to believe that the have the answer at shortstop and that answer is Anthony Volpe. They might be very wrong. They might be very very wrong. There is reason to believe that Anthony Volpe isn't the hitter the Yankees think he is and might be...
In order for Anthony Volpe to be a productive big league hitter, his performance has to go against the trend that he has established over the entirety of his professional career to date and he has to outperform all of the other prospects (not named Judge) that have come before him over almost 20-years. .
From my perspective, there is enough here to cause very real, very significant, concern.
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