Leaving New York Yankees shortstop Oswaldo Peraza out of the American League Division Series roster was one of the most controversial decisions manager Aaron Boone has had to make this year. The skipper prioritized other things, such as defensive versatility and playoffs experience, and ultimately chose to leave the rookie behind.
The situation, however, has changed. Shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa lost his starting spot before Game 4 because Boone thought he was pressing, and the Yankees won both Game 4 and Game 5 with Oswaldo Cabrera at shortstop and Aaron Hicks in left field.
Hicks is no longer available after hurting his knee on Tuesday, so either Cabrera will have to play left field or the Yankees will include Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Carpenter in their outfield plans.
The Yankees should use Peraza at shortstop
Boone made it clear in Game 5 that he prefers to play Marwin Gonzalez in left field before going with IKF at shortstop again, so it would make sense for the Yankees to include Peraza on the roster. There is an argument to be made, and a very strong one at that, that he should start in the ALCS over IKF, with Cabrera playing left field regularly.
Peraza is the best defensive shortstop currently on the Yankees, and he carries much more offensive upside than Kiner-Falefa. With Hicks and Andrew Benintendi hurt, Cabrera needs to be deployed as an outfielder, leaving shortstop up for grabs.
IKF and Marwin shouldn’t be viewed as starting options, but Peraza could. Yes, he is inexperienced, but hit 20 home runs and stole 35 bases between Triple-A and the majors and slashed .306/.404/.429 in 57 plate appearances in the Bronx.
It could be a risky move, sure, but the best option for the Yankees should be using Peraza as the starting shortstop.