Despite his impressive maturity, Anthony Volpe is just happy to soak up the moment

Anthony Volpe Yankees
Yankees top prospect Anthony Volpe.
Wikimedia Commons

TAMPA — Friday was just another day with just another impressive performance from New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe, who has been the talk of Major League Spring Training. 

Against the Minnesota Twins, Volpe went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run, his third of the spring. However, it may have been his first at-bat, a strikeout against Twins’ starter Pablo Lopez that was the most important moment.

After Lopez got ahead of Volpe with a first-pitch fastball that the Yankees’ rookie took for a strike, the veteran right-handed pitcher spun in a slider for called strike two and then got Volpe to swing and miss with another slider for a quick three-pitch at-bat. 

“It definitely was a pretty nasty pitch,” Volpe admitted about the slider that got him for a strikeout, “but I saw it pretty good.”

It may have looked like an ominous start for the 21-year-old, but the maturity and understanding of the game that has impressed people all spring was on full display in his second at-bat when Volpe pounced all over a first-pitch slider from Lopez and hit it to dead center for a two-run home run. 

“It was a good swing,” said Gerrit Cole after the game. “A really good swing. That’s some true power right there.”

Even on the strikeout in the first at-bat, Yankees manager Aaron Boone felt that Volpe took the right swing.

“I was like, ‘Man, how did he miss that one?’ He took the right swing; he was just grounded really well. He made whatever small adjustment he needed to and just leaned on it.”

The ability to process information and adjust from at-bat to at-bat has been one of the more impressive aspects of Volpe’s month down in Tampa. 

“He’s a heady, smart player, but he’s a good player,” said Boone after the game. “He’s got the equipment to go do things, but he processes things really well; he learns and adjusts really well.”

The ability to access his own weaknesses or mistakes and adjust has always been a part of Volpe’s game, as evidenced by the way he bounced back from a slow start to his 2021 season; however, his offseason preparation has only taken that to another level.   

“I’ve worked really really hard my whole life up until this point but especially this offseason, I really wanted to get to work,” admitted Volpe. “The work I was doing with the whole staff [this offseason], I feel really confident. It was seamless going into big league camp. Every day we were getting live ABs, so I was definitely feeling good coming in.”

Anthony Volpe Yankees
Anthony Volpe celebrates after a spring training home run (Wikimedia Commons

While Volpe’s .277/.393/.577 triple-slash may not look explosive on the page, it’s been his consistency and maturity that have really impressed those around him. 

“I just feel like he’s just been steady,” said Boone. “I guess everything we kind of expected and hoped for. You know, he’s looked the part. He’s come in and fit in really well.”

After the game, Volpe said that steadiness has been one of the things he’s most pleased with about his spring: “Just sticking to my routine and having communication with [the staff] about what that is and what I feel like I need to do to put myself in the best position to perform in the game. I think a lot of that type of stuff helped me with consistency.”

That consistency has also led to speculation that he will force his way into the lineup as the Yankees’ starting shortstop on opening day, despite the fact that Boone will only say Volpe has “put himself in the mix, certainly.” 

Yet, even while baseball writers and fans around the country are talking about him and his future on the field, Anthony Volpe is just happy to be where he’s at right now. 

“I’m just happy with the work I’ve been able to put in,” he said in the locker room after the game. “This being my first camp with all the guys I’ve played with the last couple of years, we were just talking about how good of a learning experience this has been for us. We’ve learned things that we’re gonna take years into the future.” 

He understands full well that the roster decision is out of his control and focuses instead on being “happy that I get to be in the same lineup as some of these guys.”

“I kind of block it all out,” he said of the speculation. “I’m living with four roommates, and we’re just trying to enjoy the time together. Everybody’s probably going separate ways, so we’re just trying to soak in the moment.”

After games, instead of dissecting their performances or wondering about what level of affiliate ball they might play at this season, they just “put something on TV, watch sports, or play FIFA.”

“We’re just having fun,” laughed Volpe. “We kind of go about our day and put in our work and then just enjoy each other’s company, go out to dinner, stuff like that.”

For all intents and purposes, Anthony Volpe is just a young kid who’s enjoying living out his dream. He also just happens to be one who might be about to take the baseball world by storm. 

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