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The Thursday afternoon slate of games for Major League Baseball consisted of one bout and it was between non-contenders in the Yankees and Tigers in Detroit. The Tigers had a 3-0 lead with two outs in the ninth until Yankees rookie Anthony Volpe came through with the clutch homer. 

It ended up not mattering in the W-L column, because the Tigers won on a walk-off error, 4-3, in the 10th inning. Let's ignore the game result and just focus on Volpe for now. 

This was Volpe's 20th homer of the season and he's already swiped 21 bases. The batting average remains low, but the talent on this 22-year-old rookie is evident from that admirable power-speed combo number. He's been much better in August, too, indicating that he's possibly putting things together and might be in line for a breakout season in 2024. 

That 20-20 home runs-stolen bases stat is a nice plateau for a rookie, too. Volpe is the first Yankees rookie ever to accomplish such a feat. Derek Jeter had 10 homers and 14 steals when he won Rookie of the Year. Alfonso Soriano came two homers short (though he stole 43 bases). Tony Lazzeri was two homers and four steals shy. Joe Gordon homered 25 times but stole 11 bases. Mickey Mantle had 13 and 8, respectively. 

Keep in mind, Volpe still has another month to tack onto his counting stats, too. 

If we expanded the search for 20-20 rookies to all teams, we do find a few other names with Volpe, but it's a short list. If we lop off players who still had rookie status but debuted previously (such as Corbin Carroll this season, who debuted but didn't exhaust rookie eligibility last year), we can knock the list down to:

  • Antony Volpe, 2023: 20 HR, 21 SB and counting
  • Bobby Witt Jr., 2022: 20 HR, 30 SB
  • Julio Rodríguez, 2022: 28 HR, 25 SB
  • Marty Cordova, 1995: 24 HR, 20 SB
  • Ellis Burks, 1987: 20 HR, 27 SB
  • Mitchell Page, 1977: 21 HR, 42 SB

Rather exclusive company there with Mr. Volpe. I also like that it had hardly ever happened before last year and now the list is growing. Maybe we'll see a few more additions in the coming years due to the stolen base renaissance.