Delbarton High School in Morristown, New Jersey might sound familiar to you, it could be because you read about it when we profiled right-hander Jack Leiter in March as a possible first round selection in the MLB Draft for the New York Yankees. Well, there is an infielder on the roster that could also be an option with either the 30th or 38th pick for New York. That player is Anthony Volpe.
Volpe is a 5-foot-11 shortstop who is committed to playing college baseball at Vanderbilt University along with Leiter. He is profiled as a shortstop, but also has experience playing at second base. In their latest mock draft, Baseball America has Volpe going to the Yankees with the 30th pick and they mentioned how New York has done their homework on him recently:
“Volpe is getting some late helium this spring, and despite his size some think he could sneak into the back of the first round. The Yankees have had a few high-level scouts in to see him.”
As is the case with Leiter, getting a player to forego going to a great baseball program like the Commodores would be a challenge. However, should New York have the opportunity to select Volpe, they would be getting a player that is known for his contact hitting ability and his glove in the infield. Here is more on Volpe courtesy of Perfect Game:
“Very polished defensive infielder with all the actions, advanced footwork and balance, very quick transfer and release, very smooth and fluid, not elite arm strength but plenty to play all over the infield with his other skills. Right handed hitter, some polished skill set, short and compact swing with good bat speed, middle of the field line drive approach, can drive the ball to the gaps on his pitch.”
If you look at Baseball America’s rankings (subscription required), they have Volpe 61st on their Top 400 prospects in this class. That ranking may seem low for the Yankees to take him early in the draft. However, he is 12th among players at shortstop between high school/prep school and college. Baseball America did mention more on Volpe’s approach and how that might be what the Yankees need more of in the organization:
“Scouts almost universally praise Volpe’s work ethic and the way he goes about playing the game. Volpe has very limited power, but he’s got quick hands and a compact swing that allow him to spray line drives up the middle and into the gaps.”
It wouldn’t be uncommon for the Yankees to select an infielder with the 30th pick. In fact, if you go back to 2015, New York went a similar direction when they drafted Kyle Holder out of San Diego University. Volpe will need more time to develop, but the Yankees could either develop him slowly as a shortstop or fast track him at second base if the progression is going smooth. Here is some video on his swing courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
If the Yankees want to draft Volpe, they will need to do it with the 30th pick to avoid risking him being selected before their next pick at 38. At the bottom of Round 1, this would be a good selection for New York because it would add more depth to the infield and give them a good gap hitter with more versatility as the game switches over to an all-or-nothing mentality.