The Yankees may have their future third baseman on the roster

oswald peraza, yankees
Apr 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Oswald Peraza (91) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

In a strategic move for the 2023 season, the New York Yankees have announced the promotion of Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza, with their play commencing from Tuesday night onward.

Pereira’s MLB Debut

For Pereira, the transition to the MLB presents an exciting opportunity. The 22-year-old, after an impressive run post his promotion from Double-A this year, is set to immerse himself in professional baseball. The Yankees’ plans evidently include providing Pereira with frequent outfield opportunities, marking his initiation into the big leagues.

Peraza’s Second Coming

Concurrently, Peraza, a 23-year-old with 37 MLB games to his name, is also getting the nod. Although his MLB appearances over the past year have been sporadic, Peraza possesses the versatility to hold his ground at second base, shortstop, and third base. With positions like shortstop and second base already claimed by Anthony Volpe and Gleyber Torres, respectively, third base remains the potential spot for Peraza.

Third Base Conundrum

The Yankees have recently leaned on DJ LeMahieu as their primary third baseman, especially in light of Josh Donaldson’s calf injury. LeMahieu, at 35, boasts 587.2 innings in this position. His performance indicators, such as a .994 fielding percentage accompanied by three defensive runs saved and three outs above average, are commendable.

However, there has been a dip in his offensive game this season, reflected in his stats – a batting average of .240 and a .315 OBP, further augmented by eight homers and 30 RBIs. This is LeMahieu’s least impressive wRC+ stint since 2018.

Considering the above, it might be prudent for the Yankees to entrust Peraza with consistent reps at third base while LeMahieu possibly shifts to first in Anthony Rizzo’s absence.

To highlight Peraza’s readiness, his Triple-A performance this year stands out: a .268 batting average, .357 OBP, complemented by 14 homers, 36 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases across 63 games. His MLB statistics, though limited to 37 games, are also promising.

Peraza’s Refined Game

Peraza has been consciously molding his game, particularly on the offensive front, striving for power-packed performances coupled with better plate discipline. However, defensively, he’s already a shining star, evidenced by his Gold Glove potential.

A breakdown of his MLB tenure reveals his versatility: 15 innings at shortstop, 72.1 at third, and 55 at second. His flawless fielding at third base, paired with his commendable defensive attributes, makes a strong case for him. If the Yankees are hesitant to make external acquisitions, Peraza might just be the in-house answer they’re looking for.

Another Yankees Prospect on the Horizon

Amidst the Pereira and Peraza buzz, another prospect, 23-year-old Trey Sweeney, is making waves within the Yankees’ farm system. Though he’s been batting at .250 with a .366 OBP this year in Double-A, an injury might slow down his progress.

Over two seasons with Somerset, Sweeney has consistently exhibited commendable plate discipline and walk rates. While he still hones his lefty batting skills, his defensive potential remains unquestioned.

The Yankees are fortunate with a robust farm system, brimming with talent ready to be cultivated in the coming years. And as they gear up to harness the potential of Pereira and Peraza, it signifies a promising trajectory for a team looking to reinvent their playoff strategy in 2024 and beyond.

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