Three weeks ago, with Anthony Volpe was mired in a month-long slump amid a sluggish offensive start in his debut season in the big leagues, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said sending the shortstop down to Triple-A was “not something we’re talking about.”
“What I’m seeing is, in my opinion, a guy that is still helping us win games, but I’m confident he will continue to be in the middle of helping us win games,” Boone said at the time. “And as long as I continue to see that, continue to see him deal with the ups and downs the way you would hope, I feel a lot of confidence with him still.”
The manager’s patience has been rewarded. In the 19 games after those comments on June 13, Volpe has 22 hits with eight going for extra bases and slashed .355/.420/.565 for a .985 OPS. He has also walked seven times with 18 strikeouts.
“It’s been fun to watch him make adjustments on the fly, which you gotta do,” Boone said of Volpe on Wednesday. “To be a successful major leaguer it’s a lot about making adjustments. This league’s very good at attacking things, attacking weaknesses, finding holes.
“The really good ones are able to make adjustments and I think he’s done a great job here these last few weeks of making some really good adjustments.”
In the month leading up to Boone’s comments, the Volpe had 15 hits in his last 94 at-bats (.155 average) and struck out 35 times in 100 plate appearances with just four walks.
Since Boone’s comments, the youngster has lifted his batting average on the year from .186 to .222, his OBP from .260 to .295, his OPS from .605 to 687 and his OPS+ from a poor 67 to a slightly-below average 90.
A stretch of play that Yanks general manager Brian Cashman seemed to indicate was coming when he said last month that Volpe would “get his sea legs under him.”
“He’s contributing to us in smaller ways but there is obviously a bigger portion of his game that we look forward to seeing as the season goes on,” Chasman said on June 20. “We’re not shying away from Anthony Volpe. We believe in him and we’re invested in him and we know there’s a payoff as long as we walk that tightrope with him.”
And Volpe’s recent run of good form has come at a good time for the club with the bats remaining up and down as reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge does not seem any closer to a return to the lineup. Entering Wednesday night’s game against Baltimore, the Yankees (48-38) are just 2.0 games behind the Orioles for second place in the division.
Throughout the ups and downs, what stood out to Boone the most was “the consistency of the person,” which was one of the things that gave the club confidence in the 22-year-old being ready for life in the majors.
“Of course, we’re confident in his talent and his ability to play this game at a really high level, and think he’s gonna have a long career at it,” the manager said Wednesday. “But we also felt like he was very much equipped to deal with whatever came down the [pike]whether it was immediate success, whether it’s inevitable bumps in the road or adversities, he’s been the same consistent guy throughout.”