Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2021: Anthony Volpe (OF, #11)
I am a huge Anthony Volpe fan. Much like some of my favorite baseball players, Volpe does not focus on a “Home Run or Bust” approach and instead he focuses on contact and getting on-base. While this may not win the favor of SABRmetrics in the modern baseball world, Volpe is a complete offensive player. Combined with high baseball IQ across the board, solid defense, and plus speed, I see him as an underrated prospect in the system.
ANTHONY VOLPE, SS (#11):
Age/Date of Birth: 20 Years Old (04/28/2001)
Most Recent Team(s) (Level and Year): Pulaski Yankees (Rookie)
Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019): .215/.349/.355 (.704 OPS), 2 HR, 11 RBIs, 23 Walks, 38 Strikeouts (34 Games, 150 At-Bats)
Height/Weight: 5’11”/180 Pounds
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st Round in the 2019 First Year Player Draft by the New York Yankees with the 30th overall pick.
MLB ETA: 2023
ANTHONY VOLPE SCOUTING GRADES (20-80 SCALE):
What to Know:
Drafted out of Delbarton High School (Morristown, NJ), Anthony Volpe was one of two top talents coming out of the school. Both players had strong commitments to attend Vanderbilt and were seen as longshots to sign with a Major League team. However, while both were ultimately selected by the New York Yankees, they did get one to sign. Anthony Volpe went alone in signing with the Yankees, agreeing on a $2,740,300 bonus as a first round talent. (The other player was Jack Leiter, who the Yankees took with a 20th round slot knowing he wouldn’t sign. He is now a potential #1 arm in the 2021 MLB Draft. However, enough about him…)
Even coming out a solid prep school in New Jersey, the Yankees kept Volpe in Rookie ball to start his professional career, sending him to the Pulaski Yankees (Rookie, Appalachian League). While there he would play in just 34 games while dealing with mononucleosis (commonly known as just mono). He hit decently well over his time with a triple-slash of .215/.349/.355, though he didn’t showcase much power (2 HR’s, 7 Doubles, 2 Triples).
Unfortunately after dealing with one illness, another came in COVID-19 that kept Volpe from his first true minor league season after a glimpse of minor league spring training. During this time away from the organization, Volpe had to train on his own, which he did with simple ball, bat, and net set-up like many of us.
Luckily, we have now begun the 2021 minor league season and Volpe has been able to get back onto a professional field, this time with the Tampa Tarpons (Class Low-A, Southeast). On opening day, Volpe went 2-3 with a Double, a Triple, 3 Walks, 3 Runs Scored, 2 RBI’s, and 2 Stolen Bases (WHAT A GAME!) during an 11-7 win over the Dunedin Blue Jays.
As a hitter, Volpe shows an advanced understanding of the game, even if he doesn’t seem to show top talent from his physique. He controls a compact swing that allows for gap-to-gap line drives, of which is expected given a high propensity to put the bat on the ball. With this, even though he had a high K-rate in 2019 (at 25%) it is not an expected thing to continue. Volpe could also add some power with age and strength which could lead to some decent pop, but Volpe is a more traditional hitter who is keen on contract and getting on-base. With plus speed and good baserunning IQ, Volpe also knows how to turn a single into some extra bases.
As a fielder, Volpe’s understanding of the game also shines which helps him take full advantage of his abilities. He has a good ability to slow the game down and has a quick release which makes up for an average shortstop arm, of which should keep him on the left-side of second base for a while.
What Will the Future Hold?
Anthony Volpe, had there been a 2020 season, would likely find himself in the high minors as his tools would’ve likely allowed some quick early movements in the system. After a 2019 season in rookie ball, the Yankees have moved him up slightly for 2021 to the Tampa Tarpons (Class Low-A). After a strong debut game yesterday, Volpe could be a candidate to move quickly up the ranks and replace a player the Yankees were more aggressive with at Hudson Valley (Class High-A).
With an MLB ETA of 2023, Volpe is a stretch to reach his target. I like the fact that the Yankees are playing it slow with him as his best offensive game needs for him to have all the intricacies of his swing down pat. He has also had little experience with adjusting to a new class of ballplayer outside of high school ball. If Volpe is able to make those adjustments on the fly- as I would expect given the IQ and determination- I would bet favorably on his promotions up the minors sooner rather than later.