Anthony Volpe welcomes Brian Cashman’s great prospects for his second season.
“I feel like my expectations for myself and the way we see them for the team are super high,” Volpe said Thursday at the MLB Flagship Store in Manhattan.
“I definitely know I didn’t come close to breaking through last year and that’s on me. I know where I need to be and all the work I do leading up to it will be directed towards that goal.”
While the Yankees’ general manager railed heavily against the team’s critics on Tuesday, Cashman, perhaps unknowingly, was putting pressure on his shortstop, who had just won the AL Gold Glove.
“I’m looking forward to you telling me when Volpe starts offensively for us this year that you’re going to say, ‘Hey man, I guess your development program did a good job and he was just sea legs in his first maiden year.’ with not much Triple-A under his belt,” Cashman said.
Volpe downplayed the lack of experience Cashman cited in relation to his struggles, saying he enjoyed “every minute” of his first season and he believes it gave him a foundation to build on.
The 22-year-old isn’t fazed by Cashman’s prediction, knowing he underperformed offensively, shooting just .209 with a .666 OPS.
“Frustrating,” Volpe said of his season. “We have standards that we set for ourselves as a team and individually, and I don’t think anyone felt we were anywhere near that. … I feel like it’s even more motivating. I feel like everyone is on the same page this offseason and we want to make next season special.”
He added: “I can tell you that no one in the clubhouse, no one in the entire organization wants to feel the way we’ve felt this year.”
When asked what he would like to improve for 2024, Volpe said “everything.”
Volpe’s .209 batting average certainly stood out from his rookie year, as he posted a .262 batting average in the minors, and he is considered a player capable of hitting average.
The shortstop plans to travel to Tampa after Christmas to begin training, possibly with teammates.
“I want to be a much better hitter and a lot of these numbers and results will take care of themselves,” Volpe said. “I don’t feel like I really did my part as well as I should have. I feel like the work I put in and going into spring training will put me in a much better position to be successful and help the team.”
One way for Volpe to increase that average would be to lay down bunts and use his speed, which would be consistent with what Aaron Boone told Hal Steinbrenner that the team needs to do more.
While Boone told the owner that he felt the franchise did not adequately teach bunting to its young players, Volpe indicated that he saw no problem with how it was taught to the minors.
“Pat McMahon is our base running, bunting and everything coordinator in the minor leagues and he is one of the best people in the game,” Volpe said. “He definitely emphasized it to us in the minor leagues, we definitely practiced it and trained, but I don’t think we necessarily did it that much.”
“Continuing to work will be valuable.”
While Volpe is working on his offense, his defense is already the gold standard in the AL.
Volpe said his teammates, coaches and others in the organization deserve credit for helping him win the award, and it meant a lot to him to be the first Yankee rookie to do so.
Volpe said of winning the award: “It’s definitely surreal and I don’t really know if it’s hit me yet.”