The Yankees have tanked their top infield prospect’s value

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees, oswald peraza
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Yankees commenced spring training a few months ago, their young infield prospect Oswald Peraza was the anticipated starter at shortstop. However, the team’s trajectory changed dramatically, likely jeopardizing Peraza’s value.

Anthony Volpe: From Prospect to Starter

The Yankees’ management gave top overall prospect Anthony Volpe a shot at dethroning Peraza. As Peraza fell to a hamstring injury, Volpe seized the opportunity effortlessly. While Volpe dominated spring training, his transition to the regular season has been challenging due to the leap from AAA to MLB-level pitching.

Despite Volpe earning the starting job outright, the Yankees seem to have squandered the stock of one of their prime infield prospects over the past year. They’ve shifted Peraza between the MLB and AAA Scranton teams without affording him an adequate chance to prove his worth.

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Questionable Game Time Allocation

Volpe’s performance has been less than stellar, with a .210 batting average and a .284 OBP over 103 games. It’s puzzling, therefore, that Peraza has only played in 19 games this season, not even reaching a sample size of 100 at-bats — a threshold they were eager for Josh Donaldson to hit before his calf injury.

The Yankees should have given Peraza every chance to claim the starting hot corner position, considering Donaldson’s impending retirement after this season. With a .142 batting average and .2250 OBP over 34 games with the Yankees this year, Donaldson’s defensive skills have never been in question, but his lack of offensive output has proven a significant liability.

Peraza’s past performance — a .306 batting average and a .404 OBP over 18 games with the Yankees last year — was overlooked at the start of the season. He was not given a fair opportunity to play substantial innings with the primary team, often alternating between starting and bench roles.

While Volpe has certainly graduated from the minors, Peraza has been left to the wolves, making him the team’s top young gun with minimal service time accumulated.

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The Underutilization of Oswald Peraza by the New York Yankees

As the trade deadline looms, Peraza’s value has plummeted. The Yankees might have considered trading him for pitching or outfield support last year, allowing Oswald to pursue a starting role with another team.

Unfortunately, they did not capitalize on his value at that time. As a result, they are now facing the prospect of settling for a significantly reduced return for a player who demonstrated Gold Glove-caliber defense and untapped potential at the plate.

Indeed, Peraza boasted a 33.3% hard-hit rate and an average exit velocity of 87.6 this season before his demotion to AAA this week. Instead of optioning one of their underperforming outfield reserves, they decided to send Peraza back to the minor leagues, mirroring the treatment meted out to Estevan Florial.

The Yankees ought to cease their misuse of Peraza and consider trading him, giving him a chance to compete for a starting role and access to more substantial opportunities with a longer leash.