Yankees’ Anthony Volpe has shadow over him Derek Jeter didn’t
As one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Derek Jeter’s career speaks for itself. But even he had one stroke of luck – the ten men who played shortstop for the New York Yankees between his rookie year and Bucky Dent’s All-Star appearance in 1981.
Now, another young shortstop is tasked with following in Jeter’s footsteps – Anthony Volpe, the Yankees’ Opening Day shortstop at age 21. So far, his rookie season has been a mixed bag. While his defense has been mostly good and he boasts an elite arm and 13 steals without being caught, his batting average leaves much to be desired at .193, as does his on-base percentage and his OPS+ at 74.
Despite these struggles, manager Aaron Boone has stuck with Volpe, giving him a shot to become the next great Yankee shortstop. But the comparisons to Jeter, a legend of the game, are both unfair and ridiculous. Jeter himself understood the weight of replacing a beloved player and the pressure it can create.
For now, let’s let Volpe carve out his own path and see what the future holds.
Who played shortstop for the Yankees between Jeter’s rookie year and Bucky Dent’s All-Star appearance in 1981?
Ten men played shortstop for the Yankees during this time period.
Who is the Yankees’ current shortstop?
Anthony Volpe is the Yankees’ current shortstop.
How has Volpe performed so far in his rookie season?
Volpe’s rookie season has been a mixed bag. While his defense has been mostly good and he boasts an elite arm and 13 steals without being caught, his batting average leaves much to be desired at .193, as does his on-base percentage and his OPS+ at 74.
Are there comparisons being made between Anthony Volpe and Derek Jeter?
Yes, comparisons between Volpe and Jeter are being made, but Jeter himself understood the weight of replacing a beloved player and the pressure it can create.
Anthony Volpe of the Yankees bears a shadow, unlike Derek Jeter.
Throughout his 20-year major league career, Derek Jeter assembled an impressive list of accomplishments, including 3,465 hits and a .310 batting average. These feats were not simply attributed to good fortune, but the product of hard work and determination. However, Jeter was fortunate to have had 10 men who helped bridge the gap between his rookie year and the previous Yankee shortstop, Bucky Dent, who made an All-Star team in 1981.
The Yankee shortstop position is now considered a regal position in sports, thanks largely to Jeter and Phil Rizzuto, who played vicariously from the broadcast booth for 40 more. As Jeter retired in 2014, a new shortstop had to carry the torch to live up to Jeter’s legacy. Anthony Volpe was anointed this role on June 3, 2019, and while being a local kid out of Delbarton School in Jersey, he became the Yankees’ Opening Day shortstop at 21.
However, his rookie season has so far been a mixed bag. While his defense has been good, and he has an innate ability to steal bases, and a powerful arm, his batting average leaves much to be desired. He struggles with a .193 batting average and his on-base percentage is below league average. His power is on display with nine home runs but an OPS+ of 74.
But despite these struggles, Aaron Boone is sticking with him and giving him a real shot. Derek Jeter didn’t have a legend hovering over him when he became the Yankees’ shortstop, but Volpe is subject to instant comparisons. However, this is an unfair comparison to make, as Jeter was one of the greatest players of all time. Volpe has potential for a long and prosperous career as the Yankees’ shortstop, but he may never belong in the same sentence as Derek Jeter.
The comparisons to Jeter can be overwhelming, as Jeter saw how replacing Don Mattingly weighed on his friend Tino Martinez and what it did to Jason Giambi when he replaced Martinez. “The fans are going to have their say, that’s their right, always,” Jeter said in April 2002 when boos regularly cascaded upon Giambi. But Jeter was so good that he could have replaced himself and remained just fine, something that probably won’t be the case for Volpe. The Yankees, however, don’t seem to be backing off Volpe and are proving their faith in him. Perhaps we should stop comparing the two and let Volpe find his own path to success.