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Top prospect Anthony Volpe wants to make it as a Yankee — not as a trade chip


TAMPA — Anthony Volpe could prove to be a very valuable trade chip, perhaps this July or sometime later.

But the lifelong Yankee fan, who grew up in New Jersey and whose favorite player was Derek Jeter, still has the same goal as he did as a kid, when he wrote in yearbooks that he wanted to be the shortstop for the Yankees.

“It’s been my dream to play for the actual Yankees and not just be a minor leaguer,’’ Volpe said Tuesday. “I can’t really control anything that happens from here on out, but I’m definitely gonna work as hard as I possibly can to try to make that a reality.”

That likely won’t happen until at least 2023, but the 20-year-old is certainly a lot closer to getting there than he was at this point a year ago, when he was entering his first full professional season.

Though plenty of people around the organization are waiting to see when he’s ready to get to the majors, another Yankee prospect has been confident about Volpe’s major league future for even longer.

Yankees minor league shortstop Anthony Volpe speaks to the media at the Yankees Minor League Complex in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 22, 2022.
Anthony Volpe
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Beck Way, a 22-year-old right-hander who finished last season with Volpe at High-A Hudson Valley, said he’s had Volpe pegged for the majors since before the shortstop was even a teenager.

“Oh my gosh, he was like the greatest player ever,’’ Way said at the Yankees’ minicamp at their player development complex. “Super-quick, super-fast [and] hitting home runs.”

The two played against each other in the GoWags baseball program, with Way in Harrisburg, Pa., and Volpe in Watchung, N.J.

Yankees minor league shortstop Anthony Volpe speaks to the media at the Yankees Minor League Complex in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 22, 2022.
Anthony Volpe speaking to the media
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“I’m older than him, so he’d play our team and hit home runs as a 12-year-old and fit right in,’’ Way said.

Asked if he thought Volpe had big league potential even then, Way said, “We all were thinking that. … He showed it.”

The two were teammates together at Hudson Valley a year ago, when Volpe became one of the most prized prospects in the game.

“He’s bigger and faster now,’’ Way said. “That’s the only difference. But he’s in the minors. He’s got to work his way up.”

Volpe is looking forward to continuing that process after starting his professional career in 2019, when he was drafted 30th overall out of Delbarton High School and went to Pulaski in the Rookie League.

The minor league season was wiped out in 2020, but he made up for lost time by dominating the competition at both Low-A Tampa and then Hudson Valley last year.

He is likely ticketed for Double-A Somerset to start the 2022 season, with another highly regarded prospect, Oswald Peraza, expected to be at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Volpe, for his part, insisted he’s not focused on when he might get to The Bronx.

Yankees minor league shortstop Anthony Volpe walks on to the field at the Yankees Minor League Complex in Tampa, Florida.
Anthony Volpe walks on to the field at the Yankees Minor League Complex in Tampa, Florida.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“It’s tough to think about because I’m so happy being present in the moment, seeing all the guys again after the offseason,’’ Volpe said. “It’s tough for me to think about so far in the future.”

Most scouts believe Volpe is at least a year away from the majors, although Peraza might have a chance to make his MLB debut later in the year.

General manager Brian Cashman acknowledged the presence of both Volpe and Peraza has played a role in how the front office approaches the need for a shortstop this offseason, since team execs believe one or both could contribute in the majors soon.

Asked how it felt to be on the Yankees’ radar, Volpe said, “I guess you’d rather be on it than not. I don’t really read too much of that kind of stuff. I guess I would say it’s cool me and Oswald, it feels like, [are] getting looks [and] chances.”

His more immediate goal for this year is to “have a clean, healthy season; play every game hard and win as much as we can.”

New hitting coach Dillon Lawson, previously the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator, praised the “consistency” of Volpe’s swing and overall play and attitude.

As for his approach at the plate, Lawson called it “mature.”

“It’s elevated,’’ Lawson said. “He has the ability to take a game plan and not get distracted from it. He’s ahead of his age.”

Another Yankee pitching prospect, Hayden Wesneski, praised Volpe’s mindset.

“He handles pressure well,’’ Wesneski said. “That’s what makes him different. He loves it. I hope no one ever ruins it for him. You can tell he enjoys it, the way he moves around and brings energy every day.”

As for any comparisons anyone might make about him and Jeter, Volpe laughed and said, “There will never be another Jeter.”

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