Anthony Volpe May Just Be the Key X-Factor for the Yankees

New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe continues his great start to the season and looks to be a superstar in the making.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: Anthony Volpe #11 of the New York Yankees celebrates with Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees after hitting a home run during the fourth inning of the game against the Miami Marlins at Yankee Stadium on April 08, 2024 in in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Entering their second season, some players endure a sophomore slump. Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe is having quite the opposite. The 2023 Gold Glove winner certainly made some adjustments to his approach and swing this past offseason and one week into the 2024 season, it’s showing.

Last season there was an insurmountable amount of pressure on Volpe as a rookie. When fans anticipate you being the next coming of Derek Jeter before even stepping onto the field at Yankee Stadium, all eyes are going to be on you.

Coming into 2024, the new look Yankees – including superstar Juan Soto – lifted some of the weight off of the young shortstop’s shoulders and now Volpe is really showing what he can do.

The New Jersey-native is having a scorching hot start to his sophomore season hitting a team-leading .375 with a 1.044 OPS through his first 11 games.

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The swing and approach changes that Volpe has made are very noticeable, sporting a much flatter swing and not chasing pitches out of the zone.

Volpe is inserting his name into impressive company with his great start to the season. After hitting a three-run home run in Monday night’s 7-0 win over the Marlins, Volpe became just the third Yankee age 22 or younger to record 15+ hits, 5+ walks, and 5+ extra-base hits in their first 10 games of the season joining Derek Jeter (1997) and Lou Gehrig (1926).

Also, when you look deeper at the numbers, Volpe looks like a completely different hitter than last season. So far, Volpe has cut his whiff percentage nearly in half to 14.5% – down from 28.1% in 2023. Just watching his at-bats, it is clear that he has matured in the box – making contact with pitches in the zone and taking pitches that aren’t strikes.

The young star could be learning a thing or two from teammate Juan Soto, who is notorious for taking his walks and crushing pitches in the zone.

In addition to his much improved bat, Volpe seems to be more vocal and showing leadership in 2024. In Monday night’s win, Volpe was 1-for-3 with two strikeouts along with the home run and a walk.

Both of Volpe’s strikeouts were looking and anyone watching the game can attest that both of the called strike-three’s were well out of the zone.

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After the second strikeout, Volpe let umpire Todd Tichenor know that he wasn’t pleased with his calls – something we haven’t really seen Volpe do. It’s all part of the maturing process for Volpe, sticking up for himself and his teammates.

Volpe is looking more and more like the highly-touted prospect he once was as the 2024 season continues. His surge to start the season could be a result of many factors – swing/approach changes, less pressure, Yankee hitting coach James Rowson’s influence, and even just his increasing maturity and experience.

The Yankee shortstop can prove to be the key to the team’s success this season. In year’s past, the team has struggled to get players on base consistently and so far opposing teams can’t keep Yankees off the base paths.

With Volpe’s mix of power and contact, the Yankee offense can elevate to a place we haven’t seen in years. The 22-year-old is looking every bit the part of the next great Yankee shortstop and if he continues to play even half as well as he is right now, the Yankees could be well on their way to a deep postseason run.

Whatever the reason is for his increased success, Volpe is here and he’s here to stay.