Just days into the 2023 season, Rookie of the Year watch is officially on as top prospects Anthony Volpe and Jordan Walker of the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals, respectively, made their much-anticipated big league debuts.
The sample sizes are limited to a handful of games in the early going, but it seems both top prospects are ready to seize the moment for their respective ball clubs. But, individually speaking, which young talent is poised to have the better rookie campaign?
Anthony Volpe vs. Jordan Walker: Who will have the better rookie season in 2023?
Answering this question right now comes with the aforementioned, important caveat of having an insufficient sample size from which to pull from. It’s also worth noting that both Volpe and Walker can each win Rookie of the Year in their respective leagues.
Ultimately, predicting which prospect will have the better debut season comes down to which skillset is more sustainable over the course of the season (and of course, health). On the health front, Walker was dealing with a shoulder ailment during spring training, but that seems to have subsided. Still, this is worth monitoring.
Between the two, Walker appears to have more upside with the bat but, as is the case with players possessing his skillset, the key is how he’ll adjust over a full season as pitchers figure out how to minimize what the 20-year-old does best: make hard contact.
Meanwhile, Volpe is the type of prospect who may not need to hit as much to make a significant impact on the Yankees. Volpe already has three stolen bases, for example, despite nabbing just two hits in New York’s season-opening series against the San Francisco Giants. Speed kills as they say, and especially so with new rules configured for base stealers like the soon-to-be 22-year-old shortstop.
In addition, Volpe’s defense is smooth at shortstop, playing a position better suited to hold up over the course of a long season than Walker in the outfield.
So let’s finally answer the question: who will have the better rookie season? Time will tell in the end, but for now, we’re predicting Anthony Volpe to outperform his fellow rookie colleague Jordan Walker.