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Anthony Volpe: Yankees 2021 Minor League Player Of The Year

The question was simple.

What stood out the most about shortstop Anthony Volpe’s breakout 2021 season?

“I don’t get to answer like this very often,” Yankees farm director Kevin Reese said, “but I would say . . . everything.”

It was that kind of campaign for the 20-year-old Volpe, whose across-the-board improvements turned him into one of the top prospects in baseball.

“He never hit cruise control,” top hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson said. “He constantly had a purpose for what he was doing and where he was going.”

As for where Volpe’s going, the Yankees hope it’s the Bronx some time soon. New York drafted him 30th overall in 2019 out of the Delbarton School in New Jersey and signed him away from a Vanderbilt commitment for $2.7 million.

At Rookie-level Pulaski that summer, Volpe flashed the skills and intangibles that Yankees scouts had been raving about. But a bout with mononucleosis dampened his pro debut, and the 2020 shutdown seemed poised to rob him of development time.

Volpe didn’t let that happen.

He arrived at minor league spring training this year bigger and stronger. He immediately dominated at Low-A Tampa before a promotion to High-A Hudson Valley. In 109 total games he hit .294/.423/.604 with 27 home runs, 35 doubles, 33 stolen bases and 78 walks.

“Nobody predicted that he was going to put up these kind of power numbers,” Lawson said. “So I think that that was the initial surprise and most impressive part. The fact that he sustained that throughout the year is even more incredible. That’s really, really hard to do.”

Reese said Volpe also showed that he could have a future at shortstop.

“I don’t think anybody still has that question,” Reese said. “His arm strength improved. His range is great. He showed the ability to regularly make the routine play and to make some of the special athletic-type plays.”

Volpe seems poised to begin 2022 in big league camp before heading to Double-A Somerset.

“He’s great to work with,” Reese said. “Our coaches love working with him. He goes all the time. Gives it 100% effort all the time.”

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