As the New York Yankees entered spring training, four players were expected to compete for the starting shortstop gig: Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Oswaldo Cabrera, Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe.
Kiner-Falefa likely sealed his fate with his poor 2022 performance (.642 OPS over a full slate of games): he had to bring a whole new swing or approach and show it in spring games for the Yanks to reconsider giving him the job again.
Cabrera is expected to be more of a utility player, getting playing time at second, shortstop, third base, and the outfield corners.
The real competition, so to speak, is between Peraza and Volpe.
The former had a leg up because he has already dominated at Triple-A and had a good showing in the majors last year, in limited playing time.
Volpe, however, is making things harder for manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman.
In 11 spring games, the Yanks’ top prospect is hitting .333/.459/.667 with two homers, four steals and a 1.126 OPS.
If it were a competition, he would be miles ahead Peraza (.779 OPS) and everybody else.
Per Boone, he is still competing for the starting shortstop job.
“Star prospect @Volpe_Anthony is ‘very much in the running’ to make the @Yankees Opening Day roster, according to Manager @Aaron_Boone,” Foul Territory tweeted.
Star prospect @Volpe_Anthony is "very much in the running" to make the @Yankees Opening Day roster, according to Manager @Aaron_Boone 👀 #PinstripePride pic.twitter.com/6S1V6iMhaH
— Foul Territory (@FoulTerritoryTV) March 16, 2023
Volpe has been marvelous at every minor league stop since 2021, except for Triple-A.
He was far from an embarrassment there in a short 2022 cameo, but he still needs to prove himself there.
In any case, he might have evolved/improved over the winter, and is certainly showing it in the spring.
He is still likely to start in Triple-A, then wait for his chance until an everyday spot opens up in the Yankees’ infield.
It’s better to have him playing everyday at Triple-A than doing it sparingly in the bigs.NEXT: The Yankees Demote A Top Prospect As Opening Day Nears