Kevin Reese kept it simple. The Yankees’ new vice president of player development didn’t set even bigger expectations on shortstop Anthony Volpe, his biggest prospect.
“Just continuing on that path,” Reese said in a video interview Wednesday.
Reese added that Volpe’s next task will be to go to Double-A Somerset and replicate the production that earned him so many accolades last season.
“Continuing to work with our hitting staff, our defensive staff and hopefully making an impact in the big leagues soon,” Reese said.
Baseball America and MLB Pipeline each rank Volpe, 20, as the Yankees’ best overall prospect. Baseball America ranks him No. 22 in the game. MLB Pipeline has him at No. 15.
Last season, Volpe hit .302 with 12 homers and 49 RBI in 54 games at Low-A Tampa. Then he crushed at High-A Hudson Valley, hitting .286 with 15 homers and 37 RBI in 55 games. He had a combined 1.027 OPS.
It was a big step up for Volpe, who didn’t play in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic canceling the minor-league season. He had a rough debut in 2019, dealing with mononucleosis.
The Yankees drafted Volpe at No. 30 overall in 2019 and gave him a $2.74-million signing bonus.
Reese said that the Yankees’ player development staff intends to work on some of his preparation as he adjusts to higher levels.
“The pitchers get better,” Reese said. “The runners get faster in some places. The game speeds up a little bit. He’s been a guy that’s handled that all really well in a young age, and from the scouting department coming in, they all told us that was going to be the case and so far, so good.”
Meanwhile, Reese also had high praise for outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez, who Reese said was turning heads “everywhere he goes.”
“His ability to lead at such a young age,” Reese said of Dominguez. “The exit velocities. The speed. Some of the measurables that we do on our performance science side. It’s all off the charts. We just want to get him to play more baseball. I think that all of the skill is there, all of the ability is there and we’re extremely excited about what he’s going to do in 2022 as well.”
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Brendan Kuty may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.