The kid did it, folks. Top Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe had a slim chance of making the big-league roster for Opening Day. But, he still came into camp with a chance to prove himself.
He did that, and the Yankees have rewarded the 21-year-old with keys to the starting shortstop job. Volpe beat out Isiah Kiner-Falefa (who was probably never seriously in the running), and fellow prospect Oswald Peraza. The New Jersey native received the news on Sunday. He was essentially speechless upon hearing his dream had been achieved.
This is great for baseball and great for the Yankees. The obvious hope is that Volpe runs with the opportunity and never looks back. And while the season is a six-month marathon, there could be an extra prize at the end of it for New York. You know, if all goes well and Volpe has a solid rookie campaign.
Kevin Manahan of NJ.com uncovered a little-known benefit in the Collective Bargaining Agreement for MLB teams who reward their prospects instead of trying to manipulate service time:
The Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a Prospect Promotion Incentive, which rewards teams for promoting prospects in time for Opening Day instead of keeping them in the minor leagues to gain a year of control. Prospects who are on at least two Top 100 lists among MLB Pipeline, ESPN, and Baseball America for Opening Day and finish in the top five of the Rookie of the Year race earn their team an extra pick. If that player wins the Rookie of the Year award or finishes in the top three in the MVP voting, his team could earn an additional pick.
So, all Volpe has to do is finish within the top five of American League Rookie of the Year voting. He’s coming in this year as baseball’s fifth-best prospect according to MLB.com and the 14th according to Baseball America.
The Mariners took advantage last year by having Julio Rodriguez — a consensus top-10 prospect — start 2022 in the major leagues. Then, he won Rookie of the Year honors and finished seventh in AL MVP voting. As for their reward, the Mariners are also getting the 29th overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.
Not many Yankees people are probably thinking about this right now. But still, if Volpe performs how they’re hoping he will, it’ll be a nice added bonus.
MORE ON ESNY:
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• Reasons for sending Mets’ Brett Baty to minors is Grade-A bologna
• Mets’ Max Scherzer finishes off dominant spring with lots of strikeouts
• WATCH: Yankees tell Anthony Volpe he made Opening Day Roster
• Giants’ Brian Daboll still not ready to pump up Daniel Jones’ tires
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.