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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/7/23

Anthony Volpe has been prepping to fight for a job since November; for the first time, the Negro Leagues appear in popular videogame series; an FAQ on the league’s new rules.

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2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Athletic | Brendan Kuty: (subscription required) With spring training imminent, Yankees hitting coach Dillon Lawson talked with Brendan Kuty about several of the team’s hitters, many of whom have spent time at the organization’s complex in Tampa this winter. Of most interest to fans, top prospect Anthony Volpe has been hard at work at the facility since learning from Brian Cashman in November that he would have a shot at taking the shortstop job from Oswald Peraza and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in spring training. The former first-round pick has spent the winter working on working off opposing scouting reports and making adjustments on a daily basis depending on the game plan against a particular pitcher.

Also hard at work were Oswald Peraza, Harrison Bader, DJ LeMahieu, and of course, Aaron Judge. | David Adler: For the first time ever, the popular MLB The Show videogame franchise will incorporate players from the Negro Leagues, with the stories of eight players — Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Buck O’Neil, Rube Foster, Hilton Smith, Hank Thompson, John Donaldson and Martín Dihigo — featured in the new “Storylines” game mode. A joint project with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, this new mode is designed to allow players to learn more about some of the best players to play the game, many of whose stories have not become well-known due to the history of racism in this country.

While not the first time the leagues have appeared in videogame form — they have been included in the Out of the Park simulation franchise for a few years now — it is the first time that they have appeared in and headlined a major feature in a mainstream series. | Anthony Castrovince: The 2023 season will see several rule changes, including the ban on defensive shifts, larger base sizes, and the pitch clock. Are you confused as to what exactly is changing and what the reasons behind them are? Fortunately, Anthony Castrovince has compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answered them, with the help of quotes from the likes of Theo Epstein (the former GM behind many of these changes) and several players (such as Matt Carpenter and Cody Bellinger).

Sports Illustrated | Max Goodman: As the saying goes, prospects will break your heart. One decade ago, the Yankees had three first-round draft picks, courtesy of competitive balance picks from Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson walking in free agency. One of those picks, Aaron Judge, goes down as a resounding success, as he has become not only a star outfielder, but the captain and face of the organization (and arguably, of baseball). However, neither of the other two picks, Eric Jagielo and Ian Clarkin, have made their major league debuts. While Jagielo has been out of baseball since 2018, Clarkin recently signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners; he has since been assigned to their Double-A affiliate.

As a new youth movement pushes through into the Bronx, it’s important to remember that for every top prospect that pans out, many many more unfortunately don’t make it.