For over a year now, it’s been clear that Anthony Volpe would be central to the Yankees’ future. It was just a matter of time for when he’d be called up, as he had established himself as not only the top prospect in the organization, but one of the best in baseball. Entering spring training 2023, however, it seemed like the 21-year-old was a bit of underdog to make the Opening Day roster.
It’s not as though the team denied Volpe’s talent. They just happened to have another standout prospect at shortstop in Oswald Peraza. He made his MLB debut last September and also had 99 games at Triple-A to Volpe’s 22. Indeed, as recently as Labor Day weekend 2022, the local product Volpe was still living with his parents and playing at nearby Double-A Somerset.
Despite the uncertainty, Volpe clearly entered Yankees camp this spring with a mission to push up his timeline. He lit the Grapefruit League on fire with a .314/.417/.647 triple slash in 17 games, clubbing 3 homers among his 10 extra-base hits in limited action. He wasn’t as slick as Peraza at short, but he certainly seemed capable enough. And even when established major leaguers like Pablo López struck him out on three pitches, he responded in the next at-bat by taking him deep to dead-center field.
There was no denying it: The kid was ready, and newly-appointed Yankees captain Aaron Judge was not shy about making his case for Volpe. Thankfully, the Yankees took heart, and on Sunday afternoon, the confirmation that fans around the tri-state area and beyond had longed to hear finally arrived.
I’m told Anthony Volpe has made the Yankees.— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) March 26, 2023
The Yankees themselves confirmed the news and shared a video of Volpe learning the word himself from manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman.
Welcome to The Show, AV! pic.twitter.com/Gq5VMRvqN0— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 26, 2023
From the way the Yankees reporters are talking about Volpe, it sure seems like he’s going to be the starting shortstop as well. He would be the youngest Yankees player to start on Opening Day since — you guessed it — Derek Jeter in 1996.
Whether this all means that Peraza will begin 2023 in Triple-A or on the Yankees’ bench occasionally playing every other day is still unknown. But Volpe outplayed Peraza in camp and has the higher ceiling as a prospect. Credit to the Yankees and Cashman for being aggressive, as this is not their modus operandi. A 40-man roster move will be needed and past prospects have not been moved so quickly. If it turns out that Volpe needs a little more work in the minors, that’s fine, but he deserves the challenge!
Welcome to the Bronx, Anthony Volpe! We can’t wait to see what your rookie season has in store.