How the Yankees can utilize Oswald Peraza in 2024

After losing the starting shortstop battle to Anthony Volpe during spring training, Oswald Peraza’s place in the Yankees‘ major-league roster appeared uncertain. Initially, the infielder didn’t resume where he left off in 2022 but instead took reps with the Triple-A RailRiders.

A Rocky Year of Call-ups: Limited Success but Unwavering Hope

Throughout the year, sporadic call-ups didn’t yield the success Peraza, or the fans for that matter, had hoped for. Struggling in his limited at-bats, Peraza was frequently sent back down, making it seem as though he’d never get the shot he deserved. But then, a turning point arrived.

Yankees Embracing the Youth: Peraza’s Second Coming

With the Yankees’ playoff hopes nosediving, the team opted for a full youth movement, bringing up the likes of Jasson Dominguez, Everson Pereira, and Austin Wells. Alongside them, Peraza was promoted once more, receiving daily reps at various positions. The 23-year-old seized this opportunity, signaling his potential for a long-term role within the organization.

A September to Remember: Peraza’s Scorching August

In the midst of what has been a largely despairing season, the Yankees have managed to clinch nine out of their thirteen games this September. And much of that credit goes to Peraza. Currently enjoying a seven-game hit streak, he boasts the team’s second-highest wRC+ (137) this month, outdone only by Gleyber Torres. His recent home run against Boston epitomizes just how crucial he has been to the Yankees’ lineup. The young infielder’s aggressive plate approaches are paying off, making a strong case for his place as an MLB regular.

From Glove-First to Balanced Player: Bright Spots in Peraza’s Game

Originally seen as a glove-first prospect, any offensive contribution from Peraza is considered a bonus. His knack for positional flexibility, coupled with improving batting skills, suggests that he could have a promising future with the Yankees.

The Swiss Army Knife of the Infield: Positional Flexibility

The Yankees have faced significant questions in their corner infield positions, especially with Anthony Rizzo’s recent concussion symptoms. This shift has led to DJ LeMahieu covering first base and opened an avenue for Peraza to take over third. Showcasing his versatility, Peraza has proven capable at second, short, and third base, reaffirming his positional value to the team.

A Glimpse into the Future: Uncertainties and Opportunities

The Yankees’ infield situation is somewhat nebulous for the future. While Anthony Volpe and Gleyber Torres seem fixed in the middle, there’s less clarity around the corners, creating a window of opportunity for Peraza. Anthony Rizzo’s health concerns following a collision with Fernando Tatis Jr. only exacerbate these questions. Should LeMahieu step up as the Yankees’ first baseman in 2024, third base could be Peraza’s for the taking.

Super-Utility Role: A Bright Horizon for Peraza

Peraza’s strong performance in the latter part of the season may well place him in a super-utility role, akin to LeMahieu, for the next year. With substantial plate improvements, the ability to man multiple positions, and the present uncertainties in the Yankees’ infield, Oswald Peraza is poised to carve out a significant role in the Yankees’ future core.