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Anthony Volpe’s ongoing struggles this season don’t seem like they will cause him to be demoted to Triple-A, at least right now.
New York Yankees chairman Hal Steinbrenner told reporters on Tuesday that Volpe is the team’s starting shortstop and there’s been no discussions of sending him to the minors.
Expectations were sky high for Volpe coming into the season.
MLB.com ranked Volpe as the No. 5 prospect in baseball entering 2023. He only played 22 games at Triple-A last season but hit .249/.342/.460 with 21 homers and 50 stolen bases across two levels in 2022.
The New York native was named New York’s Opening Day shortstop after hitting .309/.415/.618 with 10 extra-base hits in 55 at-bats during spring training. He was 21 years old at the start of the season, making him the youngest member of the Yankees’ Opening Day roster since Derek Jeter in 1996.
Things haven’t worked out for Volpe, as he’s posted a .189/.260/.345 slash line, nine homers and 14 stolen bases in 67 games. He ranks 15th out of 19 qualified shortstops with 0.4 FanGraphs wins above replacement.
There’s no reason to think these early struggles are a long-term issue for Volpe. He hit well in his previous two seasons in the minors and was given an aggressive promotion to the big leagues this season in part because the Yankees didn’t have a better option readily available.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa was the primary shortstop last year, but he’s never posted an OPS over .699 in a season in his career.
If Volpe continues on this trajectory for a bit longer, it might be in New York’s best interest to send him down to work his way out of it away from the spotlight. But it doesn’t appear a decision of that magnitude is imminent.