Image credit: (Courtesy Somerset Patriots)
Anthony Volpe is one of the best prospects in the game. He’s the unquestioned top talent in the Yankees’ system and he ranks No. 15 overall on the latest iteration of Baseball America’s Top 100.
The road to such a lofty status wasn’t without bumps. His draft season was marred by mononucleosis. The following year was washed out by the pandemic, but he spent the season away working on developmental goals without the pressure of daily game play.
When he got back on the field in 2021, he tore up the lowest levels of the minor leagues with an offensive outburst that led to a season slash line of .294/.423/.604 with 35 doubles and 27 home runs.
After a slow April, Volpe has picked up where he left off. Currently, he is the only player in the minor leagues with 25 or more doubles, 15 or more home runs and 35 or more stolen bases.
As with any prospect, plenty of development has taken place along the way to get him where he is today. Who better to detail that development than Volpe himself.
BA sat down with the 21-year-old shortstop before a game recently and asked him to take a look at open-side videos of three swings: one from when he was in high school, one from last season at High-A and one from earlier this week.
Here’s what he said.
SWING 1—2019 Tournament of Stars, Cary, N.C.
In high school, I really worked hard—and still work hard—to get away from that really pushy pattern and just use my body more. When I watched that video, it looks like all upper body.
My hands are dropping, I’m just pushing my hands to the zone. It’s like with your hips. If you see my back elbow’s flying up, it’s not really getting through on my swing and then the hands beat my elbow and my body to the ball.
I worked really hard in the weight room to gain strength and to be strong enough to hit balls farther more consistently. I didn’t feel like I was really using my legs or my hips and really wasn’t in sequence.
Really, I think I should be working from the ground up and using the ground, using my hips and then using my torso. The last thing should be the hands. When I watched this video, it looks like the first thing to go are my hands to the ball.
SWING 2—High-A Hudson Valley at Winston Salem
I just thought I was using the ground way better really getting in my center mass. I think that the (back) elbow starts a lot sooner and it gives me a better bat path.
To me, that’s pretty good direction where even if I am a little weak I can still hit it to right field. If I’m even earlier or or it’s an offspeed, I can still hit it on the barrel and stay through it.
SWING 3—Double-A Somerset at Richmond (July 29, 2022)
Yeah, I like that swing a lot. One of the things I worked on in the offseason was with my front hip or staying on balls. That was a slider from a pretty good pitcher (Richmond reliever Jorge Guzman) who threw pretty hard and had a pretty good slider.
So with two strikes, I think I was able to stay on my back-side even though I was pretty much fooled. I still had enough to get on the barrel and hit it pretty well and stay through it. It was definitely something I worked hard on in the offseason.
With my swing, I think (the key) is consistency and being able to get to all different types of pitches.
I think what I’ve learned during this year and last year is just there’s a lot more competitive pitches throughout the game and I think—regardless of whether that’s a fastball or breaking ball or any type of pitch—I think you’ve got to be ready. . . .
If the pitcher makes a mistake with any pitch in your zone, I think you’ve got to be ready to hit it, so that’s pretty much been my objective.