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Yankees At-Bat of the Week: Anthony Volpe (8/11)

Volpe’s progress at the plate is starting to turn into improved outcomes.

New York Yankees v Miami Marlins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Down the stretch of the season, the most important development for the Yankees will be the progression of Anthony Volpe and other young players. Our own Andrés Chávez went into detail on this earlier this week. With the team’s playoff chances down to 3.0 percent while sitting in last place, a postseason push is becoming more and more unlikely. Maintaining health from the core of veterans is of course a priority, but the next month and a half will give the team a better picture of what they have in their young players. Volpe needs to continue to have good at-bats and prove he can be a top of the order threat for the team in the very near future.

This weekend against Jesús Luzardo, Volpe looked more poised at the plate than I had seen all year. You can take a lot away from how a player is feeling based on what they do when they don’t put the ball in play. Small events such as good takes and good balance on foul balls are all indicative of how a hitter is feeling. In his at-bat against Luzardo, he showed all the signs of a confident hitter who feels good in their mechanics. Now, let’s jump into the at-bat:

Pitch 1 (0-0 count, four-seamer)

Seeing a miss like this to start an at-bat with runners on base is a big confidence booster. It puts you in the driver’s seat to get your best swings off. Volpe’s take also proved he was in swing mode. As the pitch runs up out of the zone, you can see his hands make a slight movement. He was following the path of the ball until he knew for sure it was out of the zone. With a 1-0 count, look for Volpe to maintain his aggression.

Pitch 2 (1-0 count, four-seamer)

This is a great response from the Marlins lefty. After pulling off in the first pitch and missing out of the zone, he finishes his throw with his fingers over the ball and perfectly locates a four-seamer up and in that made Volpe uncomfortable. Volpe was beaten by the velocity, and he knew it had to be a take and regroup. Good hitters adjust on the fly to catch up to heaters. These are the types of things we will need to pay attention to from Volpe going forward.

Pitch 3 (1-1 count, four-seamer)

I loved this swing from Volpe. This is one of the areas in the strike zone that he doesn’t always get to, but I thought the intent and balance of the swing were good signs. If the pitch was just a little lower, I bet it would’ve been a barrel. He kept his feet in the ground and executed what hitting coaches call a Trout Step. After he finishes his swing, he takes a diagonal step with his front foot. This is the type of reciprocal movement you expect to see from a hitter with efficient rotation. In simpler terms, it was a great swing despite no result.

Pitch 4 (1-2 count, four-seamer)

I think the Volpe of the first half swings and misses at this pitch. He had trouble laying off this zone at times. It was the perfect pitch from Luzardo but sometimes the hitters just beats you. It was also the fourth four-seamer in a row. I’m not a huge fan of pitchers doing this when the hitter is taking good swings. He is clearly not overmatched. I’m sure this was the focus of their scouting report, but if you’re reading swings, you know that Volpe is on it. I would’ve gone to Luzardo’s slider or changeup after this, but that’s not exactly what happened.

Pitch 5 (2-2 count, four-seamer)

Instead of giving the kid another look, Luzardo missed his location. Volpe’s previous swings showed he was on these fastballs. A change of speed was absolutely the right decision, even if it was just to set up another heater. One major point of this column is to highlight how good hitters make mistakes hurt. We’ve seen a lot of mistakes pass Volpe by at times, but this one didn’t. He’s making progress at the plate and is starting to see the benefits.