Without Aaron Judge, the Yankees have a slumping offense that needs to wake up. They got a glimmer of hope on Tuesday vs. the Mariners in a 3-1 victory. However, more work needs to be done. Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe isn’t expected to carry the weight of the lineup on his shoulders. But, New York could use a little more production from him.
It’s been a rough go for Volpe through his first 272 MLB plate appearances. He’s slashing .191/.265/.350 with nine home runs, 27 RBI, 25 runs scored, and 15 steals. His offensive performance has amounted to a 70 wRC+ (100 is the league average) and 0.4 fWAR. His OPS and wRC+ have progressively gotten worse with each month.
Should Volpe spend some time in Triple-A to get himself back on track? After all, he only has 22 career games at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre under his belt from last season. We think he could use some time out of the limelight to get himself right again. That’s not an unpopular opinion, but it’s one the Yankees haven’t considered (at least, that’s what they’ve said publicly).
Jon Heyman of the New York Post spoke to a couple of scouts about Volpe and what’s going on with the young shortstop, who boasts a 30.9% strikeout rate. Neither of them held back from being honest. Here’s what one said:
He’s going away from what made him special — getting on base, battling, tough at-bats. Now it’s three strikes and sit down. That’s not his game. Someone told him not to worry about strikeouts. He swings out of his [behind] every pitch, even with two strikes.
This is not the type of player Anthony Volpe should be. He shouldn’t be among the league leaders in strikeouts.
Here’s what the other scout said:
He’s going to have to go down to Triple-A. He’s going to have to relearn how to hit the ball up, and relearn how to hit the ball away. His hips are opening early and he’s swinging uphill. The only pitch he can hit are pitches that are down and in.
Heyman also shared quotes from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman regarding Volpe. They appear steadfast in their desire to help him work through things at the big-league level. That’s the plan, even though Oswald Peraza appears ready for another chance as he mashes Triple-A pitching.
Maybe this is one of those scenarios where Cash doesn’t want to wave the white flag and admit the decision they made didn’t immediately work out. Who knows. If the offense was mostly firing on all cylinders, it’d be easier to let Volpe figure things out in the majors. But it’ll continue to get harder to justify that until this group collectively turns the corner.