The New York Yankees have a bit of time left on the clock before the current position battles unfolding need to be decided on. General manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone have both been very vocal about the potential elevation of the team’s top prospects, including Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza.
Both have had plenty of opportunities this spring to showcase their talents, but Volpe has pulled away as the most productive, despite Peraza having a full year of experience in Triple-A and an 18-game sample size of regular season action at the end of the 2022 MLB season.
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The Yankees would ideally have Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe start:
Peraza and Volpe are well on their way to being promoted, with the former of the two having a leg up, given his experience with Scranton last year. Volpe only played in a few games in Triple-A, so there is a good argument to make he should start the 2023 season there and eventually get promoted for consistent play.
However, if Peraza wins the starting shortstop job, Volpe’s position may change permanently to second base, where he could be a well above-average defensive player.
An anonymous AL scout compared Volpe to Dustin Pedroia, one of the league’s best infielders over the past 15 years. He played nearly 1,500 games at second base throughout his career, posting a .991 fielding percentage and making four All-Star appearances, including winning the MVP in 2008.
He’s always reminded me of Dustin Pedroia. He’s on the small side, like Dustin, yet he hits everything with authority. And he plays the game like he’s on fire, which [Pedroia] did, too.(via New York Post):
Being compared to Pedroia is undoubtedly a great thing, but Volpe has even more size and power in his game. At 21 years old, he stands at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds compared to Pedroia’s 5-foot-9 and 170-pound stature.
This spring, the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect posted a .308 average with a .438 OBP, 1.028 OPS, two homers, and 12 hits across 39 at-bats. With several days left until Opening Day, Volpe will likely have a few more games to showcase his talents, making the decision even more difficult for management.
Anthony has been the projected shortstop of the future for quite some time now, but given Peraza features gold glove-level defense as a floor, the Yankees can quickly shift Volpe over to second base, where he could be a star player for years to come.
Simply put, if Peraza can elevate his offensive numbers and provide consistency in the batter’s box, the middle infield for the Bombers will be a strong point for the next decade, six years of which will offer cheap contracts and the ability to spend elsewhere at key positions.
One way or another, I believe we will see that combination at shortstop and second base. The best-case scenario undoubtedly suggests that Volpe stays at 2B for the foreseeable future and makes a name for himself at a position that is currently housed by Gleyber Torres.
The Yankees may eventually have to trade Torres in favor of Volpe, but those decisions are still unfolding behind the scenes.