Volpe making strong case for Opening Day roster

D.J. Short and Scott Pianowski break down Anthony Volpe's strong spring, his chances of making the Opening Day roster and whether or not they are taking him in drafts.

Video Transcript

DJ SHORT: Anthony Volpe, who I just mentioned, he's really making a push to make the Yankees. I wasn't expecting that this spring. I was just thinking he would be stashed in Triple A for a couple of months, see how he does down there, and come up mid-summer or something like that.

But he's hitting really well. Hitting .320, has two homers, three doubles, OPS over 1,100 so far. Really showing a good approach at the plate. And of course, the speed is amazing. He's starting at second base on Monday. I believe he started at shortstop on Sunday. It was a split-squad game the Yankees had against the Red Sox.

So I think he's in the mix. It's hard to say if he's the favorite at this point. Oswald Peraza is probably the front runner, mostly due to his defense. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, it seems like the Yankees are preparing him for more of a utility role.

So if I had to make my guess today, I'd say Peraza gets the first shot. If he really, really struggles offensively, I think Volpe comes up quickly. But I think the defense will be the calling card. A little bit of a stopgap option for the Yankees to start the season. But who knows? I mean, Volpe is making a really strong case.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: He is. And you're underscoring a reason why I've been afraid the draft into this infield. You didn't mention DJ LeMahieu, who has the play somewhere. I'm just afraid that any Yankee I draft might play 130 games. Gleyber Torres is not a great defender. And he's a good hitter. Gleyber Torres is not-- I don't want to be unfair here. He's been a decent Major League player, but he's not a star. He had that one superstar season, which just looks like an outlier now.


SCOTT PIANOWSKI: A lot of times when I'm at my draft queue, it's like, oh, this is where Gleyber Torres should go, and I haven't drafted him. This is where DJ LeMahieu should go, and I haven't drafted him. I don't have any Peraza yet, although he's very affordable. And now Volpe has to be seen as a threat, if not to make the team out of spring training, but to come up really quickly.

And ultimately, it's going to be the Yankees have to decide what is the balance between offense and defense. At what point do they want to get the best defensive team on the field maybe in the infield because they're getting enough production from the corner spots or Judge is having another monster year or something like that.

And they say, well, wait a minute, our pitchers are pulling their hair out because we don't have a good infield defense. At what point do they say, we don't care how much guys hit? We just want people who make sense on defense.

So what I've done-- and I'm not saying this is the right answer. It's probably a cop-out answer. I'll be very fair. I'll throw the tag on myself. I just look at this infield, and I can't make any sense of it, so I'm not drafting into it. Am I missing an opportunity here, do you think?

DJ SHORT: It just depends on where Volpe is going. I think he's going late enough that if it doesn't work out, you could stash him. Of course, in Yahoo leagues, there are some leagues where you have the NA spot. You can stash him if he doesn't make the opening-day roster. But I don't think he's going early enough. He doesn't have that helium that like a Jordan Walker has where it's not going to make or break your team one way or the other.

But one thing we do know is if Volpe makes the opening-day roster for the Yankees, he's going to play every day. It wouldn't make any sense for the Yankees to bring him up if he's not playing every day. I know there is a logjam there, like you mentioned. LeMahieu, Torres, Josh Donaldson is there, Anthony Rizzo, et cetera. There's lots of options in that infield. But there's no way the Yankees carry Volpe and he doesn't play every day.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Totally fair. I wish he would have hit just a little bit more in Triple A last year so--

DJ SHORT: I know.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: --I could feel a little bit better about it. 30% strikeout rate. Even his Double A numbers were-- they were solid. They weren't eye-popping. I realize he was 21 years old. I wonder if maybe his relevance is another year away.

DJ SHORT: Yeah, I mean, he got off to a slow start last year, and we've seen that happen with some players. The initial test at a level, they struggle, they adjust, they figure it out. Would that maybe be what would happen with Volpe if he makes the Yankees? That's always a possibility.