Yankees' Hal Steinbrenner on Anthony Volpe making roster: 'Anything's possible'
Opening Day is just 15 days away and the burning question from Yankees spring training camp is... who will be the team's starting shortstop?
New York could begin the season with Isiah Kiner-Falefa at short, as the 27-year-old started 131 games at the position in 2022. However, the Yanks also have two top prospects in Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza that have impressed during the Grapefruit League season and are very much in the running to make the 26-man roster.
Yankees chairman Hal Steinbrenner discussed the SS battle with reporters on Wednesday, and made it clear that he believes when the "young prospects are ready and deserving of a chance, they're gonna get it."
“We knew it was going to be exciting," Steinbrenner said, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "It's just great to see all of our young kids playing well, including [Jasson] Dominguez. The reality is when we've got young prospects are ready and deserving of a chance, they're gonna get it, just like [Aaron] Judge did.”
Volpe has been the fan favorite to win the starting job, as the 21-year-old New Jersey native is slashing .321/.424/.679 over 10 games with two home runs, four doubles, two RBI, six runs scored and three stolen bases. Steinbrenner went on to say that "anything's possible" in regards to Volpe making the Opening Day roster, but noted that spring training games are much different from regular season games in the Bronx.
"Anything's possible," Steinbrenner said. "Look, we're always concerned about our minor league players. Are they truly ready? Because this is not New York, and this is not the regular season. So we'll just have to see."
Peraza's spring training numbers don't jump off the page as much as Volpe's, but the 22-year-old does already have some MLB experience after playing in 18 games for the Yanks last season. Peraza hit .306 over 49 at-bats in the big leagues with 15 hits, including three doubles and a home run. He's just 4-for-20 so far in eight spring training games this year, but has been very solid in the field.
The Yankees shortstop competition became a little more clear on Tuesday after manager Aaron Boone said that the team plans to start IKF in center field during spring training games this week. That opens the door for Boone to start Peraza or Volpe at short and use Kiner-Falefa in more of a utility role as the team inches closer to having to make a decision on their 26-man roster.