The New York Yankees will start their postseason journey on Tuesday, in the American League Division Series against the winner of the Cleveland Guardians – Tampa Bay Rays matchup at Progressive Field.
As the Yankees shape up their roster, it’s important for them to take one of their young, impactful infielders called up in the second half with them: Oswald Peraza needs to be part of the group of players for the ALDS, and here is why.
While some teams opt to carry 13 pitchers, the Yankees could go with 12 and make a space for Peraza since they don’t have to include Jameson Taillon or Frankie Montas for the best-of-five Division Series. Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Luis Severino are expected to be the starters for that series, and it’s unlikely the Yankees need more.
Of course, Jameson Taillon will likely keep his arm sharp by throwing in the meantime, and Frankie Montas could take some more days to reach full health.
The Yankees best option at shortstop
In reality, Peraza is the Yankees’ best option to start at shortstop, but that won’t happen right away and it’s understandable to some degree: the organization has shown loyalty to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and he won’t suddenly disappear from Aaron Boone’s plans.
However, he has a .261/.314/.327 line with a 85 wRC+; while Peraza, in limited time, hit .306/.404/.429 with a 146 wRC+. There is a strong case to be made, in addition to the offense, that Peraza is a superior defensive shortstop than IKF.
Peraza brings several interesting things to the table: he is speedy and can be used as a pinch-runner. He could be a great defensive replacement at shortstop, and he can really hit, making him a candidate to make a start or two. This is a guy who hit 19 homers in Triple-A and one in the majors.
The question at this point shouldn’t be whether or not Peraza deserves to make the Yankees’ ALDS roster: it should be whether he deserves to start.
The Yanks like Marwin Gonzalez’s versatility and clubhouse presence, but if a roster decision comes down to him and Peraza, the answer should be easy.