No minor leaguer has developed as well as New York Yankees shortstop prospect Anthony Volpe in the 2021 season. He hit .294 with 27 home runs, 35 doubles, six triples and 33 stolen bases. in 109 games between Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.
But he wasn’t the star he is today when he was drafted in 2019. He had an average body for an 18-year-old, but his work ethic and drive to improve l forced him to work on his physique during the pandemic.
“During this pandemic, Volpe just worked a ton on his craft and showed up last year like he put on 30 pounds of muscle,” Yankees starting prospect Ken Waldichuk recently told NJAdvance Media.
Seeing that kind of motivation in a teenager was, in part, why the Yankees took a chance on him in the first round of that 2019 draft. He was highly projectable and had skill, but needed a lot of development. . With no minor league season in 2020, he has taken matters into his own hands.
The Yankees shortstop of the future
Waldichuk said Volpe is “really smart” and knows what he needs to do to be successful in professional baseball. He is always one step ahead of the others.
“You could definitely tell he was different,” Waldichuk said. “He’s really, really smart. You would even see him on a day off studying pitchers, like seeing what their tendencies were, which is definitely a big league thing.
“That’s where the whole mental game comes in, especially once you get to the higher levels. Hitters will study each other and they’ll see trends and they’ll just sit on stuff. I think the craziest part is at this level (rookie league) everyone’s a little bit younger and people will watch the game but it won’t be literally every pitch every time the other pitcher was on the mound, it almost looked like Volpe was doing a recon report in his head, so you could see he had the mindset to be really good.
Volpe is, by all accounts, the shortstop of the future in the Yankees organization. It will taste the upper minors for the first time in 2022.