Anthony Volpe Wins First Career Gold Glove!
For the first time in Yankees history, a rookie has won a Gold Glove Award! Congrats to Anthony Volpe!
Volpe's 2023 Season (Defensively):
Anthony Volpe's rookie season of 2023 saw him accumulate +3.2 bWAR and +1.9 fWAR, mostly on the backs of very good defensive numbers at one of the hardest to field position. In simple numbers, he had +2.4 dWAR (Baseball-Reference's value for defenders) while he also had a +6.2 Defensive value from Fangraphs.
Across all players and positions in the entire MLB, Anthony Volpe's +2.4 dWAR ranked 6th overall and 3rd overall across American League players. The only two players in the AL ahead of him were the Cleveland Guardians' Andres Gimenez (+2.9; mostly at 2B) and the Toronto Blue Jays' Daulton Varsho (+2.8; mostly in LF).
When looking at Fangraphs' Defense metric, Anthony Volpe ranked 28th across all players and positions and 12th overall in the American League. His +6.2 Defense accumulation was not as spectacular, as he ranked behind other AL shortstops Bobby Witt Jr. (+14.7), Javier Baez (+12.5), and Jeremy Pena (+9.0).
Individually, Anthony Volpe played 157 games at shortstop (starting 150 of them) while playing 1346.2 total innings and converting on 97% of his 560 defensive chances. He had 186 put-outs and 357 assists to 17 errors. He also converted 63 double-plays. He also had a +15 DRS (which was 3rd best among MLB shortstops and 2nd best in the AL behind Wander Franco).
In an otherwise disappointing season, it is always nice to see some of the Yankees players earn awards at the end of the season.
For Anthony Volpe, I see this win as a large bright spot for his future confidence. It is undeniable that his offensive production this past season was underwhelming (especially considering he was being sold to fans as an all-around offensive player), and having something like this on his mantle could do great things for him.
It proves that he's a worthy MLB player. It proves that he's earned his spot and that he has some safety built into his position. It proves that he's a valuable piece. And, it shows that he has a key area of focus for the offseason: hitting.
I also don't think this is any sort of pro-Yankee favoritism from the writers. Defensive metrics are notorious for taking a long time to normalize, and can still be imperfect even after a full season of play. Though, when a player is consistently at or near the top of the leaderboards in most of the tried and true and recognized metrics (dWAR, Defense, DRS, etc.), it does point to him being a top-tier player at that skillset. And, that's the case for Anthony Volpe.
With all the noise about Oswald Peraza being the better defensive shortstop (which may still be true), it is also interesting seeing Volpe take home this award. It is clear that the Yankees brass wants him to be the next Derek Jeter (the last Yankees shortstop to win a Gold Glove) and this will only go to help market him further for next season.
All-in-all, this is a special honor that seems to be well earned and backed up by the data, and I hope that this serves as some comfort and foundation for Anthony Volpe for him to grow as a complete player going into the 2024 season.
Congratulations, Anthony Volpe!