The New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman could open up their checkbook and sign a big free agent at shortstop, but they could also commit to a prospect with upside.
Unloading another decade-long contract worth over $300 million on a player like Carlos Correa would only put management in another hole. Given these long deals have often come back to bite the Yankees in the butt, trusting their youth development is a far more efficient method of building a championship roster.
Looking over at teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, they have done a phenomenal job growing from within and keeping their costs down in the process. The Yankees made a ton of coaching changes this off-season, but at some point, they need to begin giving their youth more opportunities, especially at important positions.
One player who could be ready to make the leap next season is Oswald Peraza, who featured predominantly with Double-A Somerset last season at 21 years old.
Peraza got called up to feature with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Triple-A, but only enjoyed 28 at-bats. Despite a small sample size, Peraza hit .286 with one homer and two RBIs. Altogether with Hudson Valley, Somerset, and Scranton, he compiled a .297 average with 18 homers and 58 RBIs over 115 games.
Defensively, he recorded a .969 fielding percentage with 10 errors over 858.2 innings. His defensive quality may take some time to adjust, but as other teams have done, putting their youngsters in positions to grow and experience big league baseball has fueled a new wave of talent.
There is no doubt that Oswald has all the attributes to be a quality player at the next level, given the Yankees don’t utilize him as trade bait this off-season.
MLB.com gushed about Peraza’s defensive capabilities:
Peraza could have four plus tools once he’s fully developed. He has smooth actions at shortstop, the arm to make any throw necessary and a good internal clock that helps him slow the game down defensively. He makes good use of his plus speed and stole 44 bases in 54 attempts in 159 games over his first three pro seasons.