Anthony Volpe’s Yankees debut: What we learned and what’s next for him

NEW YORK – Anthony Rizzo returned the ball to Anthony Volpe. With seconds left, Volpe attacked the weak hitter and fired a layup from shortstop for the final out in the fourth inning. This was Volpe’s first defensive game in the major leagues. Rizzo, a 13-year-old veteran, thinks Volpe will want to stock up on the ball as a memento from his major league debut. no. Volpe whipped it to DJ LeMahieu, and the ball ended up in the hands of Oswaldo Cabrera, who threw it into the crowd.

“I didn’t even think about keeping it,” Volpe said. the athlete. “Maybe I should have.”

It clearly didn’t take Volpi long to get over a juicer fest that gave way to Thursday’s 5-0 win over the Giants at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day. Sure, the story was almost too good to be true. Born into a Yankees-obsessed family, Volpe, who grew up in Manhattan and New Jersey, dreamed of one day being Derek Jeter. Yes, every one of his third and best cousins ​​in elementary school is Section 214B packed for encouragement. Television and radio broadcasts gushed over his arrival as the team’s MVP.

And the 21-year-old looked like he couldn’t have handled it better, right up to his first Roll Call salute to the Bleacher Creatures, as he raised his glove and used his other hand to kiss the New York entangled on top of his costume.

“He’s not worried,” said manager Aaron Boone. β€œI thought it was great. I thought it was really good.”

“It’s probably the most fun day of my entire life,” said Volpe.

Volpe finished 0-for-2. But in his career debut, he pulled a leadoff, walking complete against Giants ace Logan Webb before stealing second base. The second time out, he settled on third base. And on his final trip to the plate, he swung the seventh with runners in corners and one out while trying to increase the Yankees’ lead, which at the time was 3-0.

On the field, he was solid. He started a sweet double play in the sixth inning, spinning Wilmer Flores and firing it to LeMahieu at second base, who whipped it to Rizzo. Immediately after the second out, LeMahieu pointed at Volpe and caught the nod an extra beat, as if to say, “Nice job, kid.”

Volpe’s presence clearly brought energy to the Yankees. The noise in the stadium was almost palpable. Even Aaron Judge, who soloed in his debut game, admitted to feeling it.

“Great at bat,” Judge said. “He was aggressive. He didn’t look passive on the plate. On his first attack, I could feel the fans were on their feet, and all of a sudden, he started a good walk. Then he got in twice, he stole, and the fans went crazy for it. Just a lot of poise and patience, and he’s competitive. Man. He made some great plays on defense. Just all over the place on a good day. I know he didn’t get the hits he wanted or what we saw all spring, but that will come.”

Boone said Volpe didn’t seem bothered at all.

“This is it,” Boone said. “It’s another thing to do that Opening Day with the team you grew up watching and you’re now short. Yeah, go there, he’s impressive early on, he misses the first pitch. But being able to get close to pitches is one of the things that will help him be the player.” Which we think it is.”

And that’s Volpe’s next mission: to become the player the Yankees need.

Last season, the Yankees received a combined 1.8 WAR from their shortstops, according to FanGraphs. This put them just 24th in the league. With last year’s rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa steadily dropping out of the daily mix, it will be a job to lose Volpe. the athleteKeith Law ranked him eighth in the game for his all-around talent, which was on display in spring training when he beat out Kiner-Falefa and fellow prospect Oswald Peraza for a big-league start. Volpe hit . 309 with three homers and a 1.033 OPS in 19 games.

The Yankees don’t need Volpe to be a superstar just yet — though potentially, all the better considering they’ve outgrown shortstops for stars like Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Trea Turner in recent free agent seasons because they’ve been so confident in Volpe. future. For now, they just need Volpe to put all the pageantry from his inception and all the fluff about pot behind him and focus on playing. Of course, the judge set his hopes a little higher than that.

Judge was close to former Yankees quarterback Brett Gardner, who has not played since 2021 but also has not officially retired after a 14-year career. Gardner was wearing No. 11, and no one had touched him since he played. But Volpe asked Gardner’s permission to wear it, and the judge stared at the number on Volpe’s back from center court the entire game. Judge said there was “no better person” to take over the No. 11 after Gardner, adding that Volpe had “the same tenacity and excitement”.

“I hope he can steal 50 bases like Gardy,” Judge said. “It will be something special.”

(Top photo of Anthony Volpe in the ninth inning on Opening Day: Sarah Steer/Getty Images)


(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Related posts