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Yankees' Judge impressed by Volpe: 'He checks a lot of boxes'

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New York Yankees top prospect Anthony Volpe is turning heads this spring, including that of the reigning AL MVP.

"I haven't had a chance to see him a lot, but some of his IQ, the heads-up plays he's made on defense," Aaron Judge said Wednesday, according to Brendan Kuty of The Athletic.

"I think we were playing the (Philadelphia) Phillies at home earlier, and a ball hit to him, the guy runs to his face (and) instead of taking a normal play to first, (Volpe) threw to third (to get) the lead runner. Little stuff like that, when I was his age, I'd be taking the safe play and be a little more scared up there. He plays with confidence. He does the right thing. He plays hard every single day."

Volpe, 21, has also impressed on the offensive side this spring, going 6-for-17 with one homer and three stolen bases.

On whether Volpe, who's the No. 5 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, should break camp with the team as the starting shortstop, Judge wasn't certain.

"It's tough to tell," the four-time All-Star said. "I'm not a scout. ... I think he's got all the makeup, tools. He checks a lot of boxes defensively, offensively. ... My thing has always been if you're the best player, it shouldn't matter your age. You should be up helping the New York Yankees."

Volpe, who's not on the 40-man roster, faces an uphill battle to make the team. Oswald Peraza seems to be the most likely Opening Day shortstop after earning his call to the majors last year and impressing down the stretch. So far, he's 2-for-9 in spring with one steal. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is also already a member of the 26-man roster and seems likely to win an Opening Day job as a backup infielder, while Gleyber Torres, the presumptive starting second baseman, can also shift over to short.

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