The Yankees may have their long-term shortstop solution after all

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Oct 20, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (91) throws to first base on a ground out by Houston Astros center fielder Chas McCormick (20) during the seventh inning in game two of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The shortstop position has been a polarizing one for the Yankees the past few seasons. The team thought they found an answer with Isiah Kiner-Falefa after acquiring him from the Minnesota Twins in a big deal prior to the start of the 2022 season. Despite inconsistent offensive qualities and defensive mishaps, the team stood firmly behind him during the regular season.

Their confidence in the 27-year-old infielder was seemingly healthy but manager Aaron Boone ended up benching him anyway against the Cleveland Guardians after missing two routine ground balls. In his place, the team started Oswaldo Cabrera, which proved to be a more valuable shift. Due to IKF’s defensive liabilities, Boone elected to include Oswald Peraza on the roster for the ALCS against the Houston Astros, and he showcased elite defense on the national stage.

Whether or not Peraza ends up becoming an integral piece of the Yankees’ infield or is used as trade bait this upcoming off-season is yet to be seen, but if the Yankees do view him as a long-term solution, he has certainly justified it.

The Yankees needed elite defense at SS at the very least:

Peraza has played only one playoff game but made a few spectacular plays, spinning and diving to save the Yankees a few base runners. While he struck out twice over three at-bats against Houston on Thursday, we shouldn’t have expected anything less given the fact he hasn’t played in 15 days.

Going from enjoying at-bats against the Texas Rangers and a few other lowly teams in the MLB to one of the best starting pitchers in baseball in Framber Valdez is quite the polarizing change. Peraza was completely outmatched on the offensive side, but he could have a bit more success if Houston utilizes Lance McCullers Jr. in Game 3 on Saturday night.

Peraza finished the regular season hitting .306 with a 40.4% on-base rate, including one homer and two RBIs. He struck out at 15.8% and walked at 10.5%, showcasing fantastic offensive capabilities despite a tough start to his postseason career.

Nonetheless, there’s a reason that Peraza was considered one of the Yankees’ top prospects going into the 2022 season. He has proved his worth and then some, meaning they can rely on him as a stud in the field at the very least moving forward.

However, there’s always the looming question of Anthony Volpe, who is expected to make the jump to Major League Baseball during the 2023 season. In that instance, they could shift Peraza over to third base, or utilize him as a highly valued trade asset to acquire more pitching.

As we are seeing right now, the Yankees are doing fine in the pitching department, it is their offense that continues to falter in big moments. With that being said, allowing Peraza a full season of at-bats and a chance to grow in that respect might be the best course of action.

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