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Anthony Volpe is Becoming a Star Before Our Very Eyes

From batting just .209 a year ago to hitting .372 so far in this campaign, Anthony Volpe has taken impressive strides at the plate, and these improvements should lead to continued success.

Anthony Volpe Finding Plenty of Success Early in His Career

New York’s Newest Star

What a start for the New York Yankees in 2024. Sure, fans had high hopes for this team, but even the most optimistic supporters wouldn’t have thought 10-3 was possible right out of the gate. Heading into Opening Day with a stockpile of injuries, analysts expected them to be mediocre out of the gate – they didn’t realize they had that “dawg” in them.

The historic start for the pinstripes can be credited to many things, but one of the top reasons has to be shortstop Anthony Volpe’s meteoric improvement at the plate. Last season he batted a lackluster .209/.283/.383 with 167 strikeouts and a wRC+ of 84. Through 13 games this year, he’s hitting .372/.460/.581 with a 209 wRC+. That big of a leap usually only happens in superhero movies, so what changes did this “Pinstripe Crusader” make in the offseason, and are the results sustainable?

Flattening the Swing

Volpe’s biggest change is pretty straightforward: he leveled out his swing.

In his rookie season, the shortstop had a clear goal at the plate–elevate and celebrate. His 14.2-degree launch angle was crafted to get balls in the air, which he achieved at a 37.1% clip. By comparison, that’s roughly on par with teammate Aaron Judge‘s career 14.6-degree launch angle. The only problem is Volpe doesn’t hit the ball nearly as hard. The infielder has an average exit velocity of 88.8 mph compared to the Judge’s 95.6mph average missiles. So while Judge’s flyballs might carry well over the fence, Volpe’s more than likely became long outs.

So this offseason, he decided to make a change. He flattened out his stroke to the tune of a 7.9-degree launch angle at the dish, and so far the results have been positive. His fly ball percentage dropped down to 25.8%, which also coincidentally resulted in raising his line drive percentage to 25.8%. This new launch angle is now more similar to his new teammate Juan Soto, whose career average is also 7.9 degrees.

Eagle Eye at the Plate

A nice swing is great, but it means nothing if you don’t know which pitches to swing at. Volpe’s 27.8% K-rate was the 12th highest in the bigs last year. and his 8.7% walk rate wasn’t a nice twin bill. So Volpe went to work on it in the offseason and adjusted his approach. He cut down on his swing-and-misses as elegantly shown in this tweet.

This has led to more competitive at-bats and a walk rate of 13.7%.

Will Volpe Find Consistent Success?

So, do these changes mean Volpe will bat .370 for the rest of his career? Sadly, it likely will not. But these improvements, both mechanical and mental, will give the Gold Glover a great chance at adding other accolades to his shelf for years to come. Maybe MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds said it best: “We’re looking at a star, folks!”

One thing is for certain, Anthony Volpe has looked great to start the year, which is something all Yankees fans should rejoice about.


Photo Credit: © Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports


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