The Yankees have a huge decision to make this upcoming year and one that certainly won’t be made until after Spring Training. That decision is, of course, who will man SS and do the job that Yankees fans have been waiting years to see since Jeter. For a bit there, Didi Gregorius was able to man the spot and had some truly remarkable moments, but in the past few seasons, it’s been a rough go. That could change this season, with a few potential options for the IF beginning to formulate.
The first option is having Oswald Peraza, the guy whom Boone and co-trusted to play SS in the ALCS, take over that spot full-time. He clearly has the abilities on the defensive side, and in his small sample of PAs from last year, he impressed. The only dilemma is that the arrival of Anthony Volpe seems almost imminent at this point, and Michael Kay saying that this will be a decision made in spring based on how they play is music to my ears.
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Peraza has the tools and pedigree to succeed at shortstop for the Yankees:
He didn’t play enough to really garner any massive trust in him, but during the time he did play, he completely convinced fans and management alike that he could handle the duties. Oswald Peraza finally got the call-up we were waiting for, though it took until September with expanded rosters to see. When he was called up, he didn’t waste any time and made sure to leave his mark on the squad. Despite only appearing in 18 games, he posted a 146 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR, hit his first MLB HR, and provided key plays defensively and on the basepaths.
Oswald has the abilities to man shortstop full-time, and that shouldn’t be a question. He played for a single month during the regular season, and that month was more exciting than the previous four watching IKF every day out there. Now, the Yankees have the young guns chopping at the bit, and Peraza seems to have first dibs on the spot. Assuming he does well in Spring Training, he should be named the Opening Day starter at that position.
Of course, his time in the minors saw him fly up prospect charts before being heralded as a Top 3 prospect in the system this past season from numerous different rankings. He only struck out a measly 15.8% of the time to go with a very solid 10.5% BB rate. At AAA Scranton, in 99 games, he was able to put together a very solid year. He posted a 106 wRC+, OPS’d .778 and hit 19 HR to pair with 33 SB. He has the speed to cause problems for defenses and is able to turn singles into doubles with ease. Both he and Volpe have been talked about as the future of the infield, and why not have one at short and the other at third base this upcoming season?
Though the season is still a bit away from beginning, it’s never too early to start to prepare. Peraza certainly won’t squander his opportunity if last year was any sort of indication. The Yanks have some very talented young guys on this squad, with Oswaldo and Oswald already having stamped their names on it. In the near future, we should see Volpe get his shot, and then not so long after that, it’ll be time for the Martian and Spencer Jones.
The depth and talent this farm system is stacked with at the top is truly sparkling, and Oswald Peraza should get every chance to start as much as possible. Yanks love their shifty infielders with a nice power-speed combination, and Peraza fits that bill perfectly. With other guys in the IF like Rizzo, Donaldson, and DJ LeMahieu all aging and losing some oomph, Peraza could provide a spark and change of pace for this lineup and defense. Look for him to get every opportunity to succeed, and perhaps that Volpe/Peraza infield combination is just on the horizon.