A year of baseball games lost to the COVID-19 pandemic has had no debilitating effect on longtime Diamond Jack Anthony Volpe, who was selected in the First Round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Yankees.
In fact, Volpe seems better than ever, even after moving up a notch in the Yankees’ organization from Single-A Tampa to High-A Hudson Valley two weeks ago. The Delbarton grad who played so much of his youth ball at Diamond Nation in Flemington, N.J. is literally tearing it up.
Volpe has always been one of if not the best player on the field, whether he was playing at 11U with the Diamond Jacks, the U.S. Under-12 National Team in China, at Delbarton School and now with the Yankees low level minor league affiliates. He’s turned heads on a national level lately, especially as MLB’s trade deadline approaches and teams would love to rob the Yankees’ cupboard of blue chip prospects.
No worries, the Yankees have never been one to give up on first round picks, especially one in the middle of a breakout season at the tender age of 20. Volpe is batting .302 in a combined 66 games with Tampa and Hudson Valley and that may be the least impressive number of all. The shortstop has 24 doubles, 5 triples and 15 home runs among his 75 hits and he’s knocked in 57 runs while stealing 22 bases in 28 attempts. Yes 44 of his 75 hits have been for extra bases.
That’s barrelling it up.
Volpe has reached base at staggering .446 clip and is slugging at .621 for an OPS of 1.067. If there was any concern about Volpe entering professional ball straight out of high school it was, perhaps, for a shortage of power. The 5-11, 180-pounder is dispelling those concerns rather quickly. It actually may have started with his leadoff home run in Delbarton’s state final victory over St. Augustine in 2019.
On the defensive side, Volpe has played shortstop in 49 of his 66 games in 2021 and has been slotted in at second base twice and at third base three times. He’s been the team’s DH 12 times. He has committed just seven errors in 160 chances in those 54 games in the field.
At Diamond Nation, we watched Volpe develop from an 11 year old who stood out among his young peers. Then we saw him shine on the international stage when his Under-12 Team USA won the world championship in China and again when he starred on Team USA’s Under-15 squad that won bronze in Iwaka, Japan. He and Bobby Witt, Jr., the Royals first round pick, formed a prodigious middle infield tandem on the Under-18 Team USA squad that destroyed the competition in the 2018 Pan Am Championship in Panama.
Witt, already in Triple-A with the Royals, batted .576 and Volpe batted .459 in Panama. Not a bad middle infield. Also on that powerhouse club was Volpe’s Delbarton teammate Jack Leiter, who was just drafted No. 2 overall out of Vanderbilt by Texas.
So, it should be no surprise that Volpe, having played and produced at the highest level internationally at his age, is not exactly cowed by the glare of professional ball in Tampa and Hudson Valley.
See writer Kevin Kernan’s take on Anthony Volpe in this story published on July 29.