The New York Yankees have five players on the top 100 MLB prospects list that ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel released earlier this week.
But one Yankees prospect stands above the rest: Anthony Volpe.
Volpe ranked third on McDaniel’s list, trailing only Gunnar Henderson of the Baltimore Orioles and Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The ceiling is sky-high for the Yankees shortstop, whom McDaniel compared to Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays and Willy Adames of the Milwaukee Brewers.
ESPN took things a step further Thursday by asking its MLB experts to provide “one bold 2023 prediction” for the prospect they’re most excited about this season. And Joon Lee focused on Volpe, who advanced to Triple-A in 2022 and seemingly is on the cusp of debuting with New York.
Lee predicted Volpe will be the Yankees’ starting shortstop in the second half.
Here’s Lee’s explanation:
The New York Yankees should not rush their top prospect into the big leagues when they already have Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera on the roster. Given that Volpe does not have much experience above Double-A, they should allow him to get some more looks at higher-level pitching and ease him into a contributing spot at the major league level. The expectations being placed on Volpe are enormous given the complaints from Yankees fans about shortstop. Easing him into the spotlight should allow for a smooth transition for a young player the franchise hopes can be a superstar.
Volpe, who turns 22 in April, was a first-round pick in 2019. He’s not the biggest guy — listed at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds — but he’s developed more power since joining the Yankees system and has the potential to provide solid on-base numbers in addition to a speed component on the bases.
Volpe slashed .249/.342/.460 with 21 home runs, 65 RBIs and 50 stolen bases in 132 games (596 plate appearances) split between Double-A and Triple-A last season, despite a slow start that largely was the product of unlucky ball-in-play data.