The New York Yankees are preparing to sift through a number of infielders during spring training to determine the starting unit. Gleyber Torres projects to be the starting second baseman, and Anthony Rizzo at first base, but shortstop and third base are open for the taking.
A position battle that includes Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, DJ LeMahieu, Oswald Peraza, and Anthony Volpe is prepared to commence. Still, the Yankees are committed to giving their young prospects plenty of reps to prove their worth over the spring.
Notably, Peraza and Volpe will be competing for the shortstop job, despite the presence of IKF, who seems to be the odd man out at this point. Peraza enjoyed 18 professional games last regular season and three during the playoffs. Oswaldo hit .306 with a .404 OBP, one homer, two RBIs, and a 146 wRC+. The sample size is too small to make any general forecasts, but his Steamer projections have him hitting .248 with a .307 OBP, eight homers, and 31 RBIs with a 104 wRC+. Defensively, many believe Peraza will provide elite glove work, but Volpe will have a chance to steal the starting job away.
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Manager Aaron Boone stated that the Yankees will include Volpe heavily in their spring training plans, challenging Peraza, despite a difference in experience.
“Obviously we’re really excited about Anthony Volpe and think he’s going to be a really good player for us for a lot of years. And we’ll see him in spring training, He’s going to get a lot of reps. He hasn’t had a lot of Triple-A time yet, but you never know. He could still kick the door in and force the onus on us.”Boone said bia the Yankees Hot Stove with Jack Curry on YES Network.
Anthony Volpe could surprise the Yankees:
In 2022, Volpe started with AA Somerset, enjoying 497 plate appearances. He hit .251 with a .348 OBP, including 18 homers, 60 RBIs, and 44 stolen bases. He started the season laboring but quickly found his sea legs and dominated before being elevated to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in AAA.
Volpe enjoyed just 22 games in AAA, hitting .236 with a .313 OBP. However, he started his tenure with a hit in six consecutive games but finished a bit slow, dragging his numbers down. Most believe that will need a few extra weeks, if not months, in Scranton to find his groove before joining the majors. The Yankees aren’t afraid of giving him an opportunity now to justify his elevation.
At 21 years old, Peraza has a year of experience over the Yankees’ No. 1 ranked prospect. However, Peraza was solid in AAA last season, hitting .259 with a .329 OBP, including 19 homers, 50 RBIs, and 33 stolen bases.
Peraza is yet another player to start slow and pick up his numbers significantly before being called up to the top team. In June of last year, he hit .303 with a .379 OBP and .300 with a .371 OBP in July. He was electric for Scranton, providing a reason for his promotion. While Volpe may rank ahead of him in the prospect pecking order, Peraza is better prepared to feature at the MLB level.
Nonetheless, competition ultimately brings the best out of everybody, and the Yankees are keen on utilizing that strategy to their advantage.