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Rookie Shortstop Anthony Volpe makes Yankees’ Opening Day Roster


(Anthony Volpe at Spring Training, March 25, 2023. Via New York Post)

After months of searching, the New York Yankees have finally found their starting shortstop.

On Sunday afternoon, the New York Yankees confirmed that rookie Anthony Volpe has made the Opening Day roster. After an exceptional Spring Training, he joins the Bronx Bombers in the middle infield.

“The obvious exclamation point here is Anthony Volpe came into camp and took this position,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman noted. "He’s earned the right to take that spot for the New York Yankees as we open the 2023 season and we’re excited for him.”

Volpe hails from Watchung, New Jersey, about 40 miles southwest of Yankee Stadium, attending the Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey, where he was teammates with top Rangers prospect Jack Leiter. Leiter and Volpe led Delbarton to a state non-public Class A championship in 2019.

As a senior, Volpe was named the New Jersey High School Player of the Year, batting .488 with seven home runs, 34 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases. Volpe had committed to play baseball at powerhouse Vanderbilt University alongside Leiter, until his favorite team, the New York Yankees, selected him in the first round, signing Volpe to a $2.7 million signing bonus.

The 2019 first-round pick quickly solidified himself as the Yankees' no.1 prospect. Volpe was successful at the Double-A and Triple-A levels last season, slashing .249/.342/.460. He demonstrated a rare combination of power and speed, racking up 21 home runs and 50 stolen bases. Volpe was named MLB Pipeline’s Hitting Prospect of the Year in 2021.

Heading into Spring Training, the Yankees' starting shortstop position was up for grabs. The Yankees anticipated a tightly contested battle between the newcomer alongside veteran Isaiah Kiner-Falefa and second-year Oswald Peraza. However, Volpe wasted no time in rendering the competition obsolete.

(Volpe hitting a home run against the Pirates, March 2, 2023. Via New York Post)

Over 19 games, the New Jersey native shined, hitting .309 with an unheard-of 1.033 OPS. He smashed three home runs and boasted his speed with five stolen bases and ten extra-base hits. Alongside the offensive surge, Volpe displayed his incredible glove with highlight plays in the field. grades Volpe out as a great hitter with great power, and above average speed. His arm and fielding ability are graded at 50, which is average. Scouts and executives alike rave about Volpe’s work ethic and instincts. His intangibles stood out just as much as his tools when he entered pro ball.

Volpe’s incredible Spring campaign earned him the 2023 James P. Dawson Award, presented to the top Yankee rookie in Spring Training. More importantly, his performance left the Yankees with no choice but to call him up to the show.

“My heart was beating pretty hard,” Volpe noted, reflecting on the moment he received the news. “I'm just so excited. It's hard for me to even put into words.”

Volpe is the first rookie on a Yankees Opening Day roster since Aaron Judge in 2017. The 21-year-old becomes the youngest player to start on Opening Day since his childhood-favorite player Derek Jeter over 25 years ago.

(Young Anthony Volpe with Derek Jeter. Via @TalkinYanks on Twitter)

The Yankees start their season at home against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. According to Manager Aaron Boone, Volpe will start at shortstop and is expected to bat ninth in the lineup.

In adjustment to the roster shift, the Yankees will transition Kiner-Falefa to a utility role, utilizing his big league experience at four different positions, and have optioned Peraza to Triple-A.

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