The Yankees have a rather peculiar plan at shortstop this spring

oswald peraza, yankees
Feb 19, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (91) fields the ball during spring training practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees haven’t made any commitments to what the shortstop position will look like come opening day. Additionally, the current “shortstops” at spring training will also get time at a few other positions as well. I imagine we’ll see Peraza, Volpe, and IKF all get reps at 3B and 2B as well for the former two. It’ll be great to see them get their feet wet at different spots in the infield, and could pave the way for Volpe specifically to secure a spot on the OD roster. 

Aaron Boone recently stated that the infielders will get their fair share of opportunities across the Diamond. In a presser during camp today, he said, “All of our shortstops will play more than one position this spring.”

Aaron Boone, per Bryan Hoch

The Yankees expect Oswald Peraza to win the SS job:

The idea that Volpe will see time at both second and third base means that he can see more ABs come his way, as well as potentially see where he’ll fit in on the roster. Peraza should be considered the favorite heading into Opening Day, and assuming he does well in spring, that likely won’t change. Peraza was able to impress a ton in the limited showing he had last season, as he posted a 146 wRC+, OPSd .832, and was able to hit his first major-league HR in the 18 games he was getting playtime. Though it took the organization much longer than expected to give him the call, I imagine they also loved what they saw in him. So much so that they started him in the ALCS and elected to toss IKF on the bench. 

Kiner-Falefa is the odd man out at this point, though there is certainly some value to having him as a UTIL in a limited capacity. The Yankees’ current roster construction may lead to them shipping off a few players, and IKF seems to be the easiest — as well as most sensible — guy to move. However, in spring, it looks like he’ll get lots of reps at the hot corner, which is where he thrived back in the shortened 2020 season. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees time at both third and shortstop this season, whether or not that’s with the Yankees. 

Volpe is playing for keeps, IKF is playing for a spot on the team:

Volpe is the biggest unknown out of the bunch, as he hasn’t really had any time at AAA and could benefit from starting the season with Scranton. He’s clearly got the tools to be elite at the highest level, and with him being the consensus #1 prospect at both his position and with the organization, he will get his chance. Assuming he has a great spring, he may make it, so the FO has to give him a chance right out of the gate. I could see Volpe playing at both second and shortstop, and even third-base remains a possibility, thanks to his exceptional range. 

All three guys will be jockeying for what will likely be two open spots on the roster. With DJ and JD both being the go-to options at third, there may not be a huge need for another guy to get time there. However, the Yankees have also been outspoken about how they’re looking to move Donaldson, similar to IKF, and we will just have to sit back and see how it all unravels. 

Spring training games begin next week for the Yankees, and the shortstop position is one of the key spots that will be garnering tons of attention. It should be Peraza as if this moment, but a great spring from any of these guys can lead to them pulling away from the rest of the pack. Volpe looks to stamp his name on the OD roster and come out of the gates hot. For IKF, he’s playing for a spot on this team in general. As for Peraza, he wants to prove that last year’s small sample size wasn’t a fluke and that he’s the real deal.

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