The off-season hasn’t truly started for the Yankees until they figure out the future of Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and their vacant left field spot. There will be many decisions general manager Brian Cashman has to make over the next few months, given ownership offered him a new contract upon its expiration on December 31.
However, we do have one answer regarding playing time when it comes to the team’s youth prospects, notably Oswaldo Cabrera, Oswald Peraza, and Anthony Volpe. Owner Hal Steinbrenner spoke to the media on Monday, indicating that the three star prospects would play an integral role in the Yankees’ plans next year, likely keeping the cost down at several positions.
“They’re going to get playing time. We’ll see how it works out in spring training,’’ Steinbrenner said. He also mentioned that it is “certainly my intent’’ to see Volpe and Peraza “in the middle of the infield.’’
The Yankees have some talented players preparing to become regulars with the top team:
Cabrera showcased his value at 23-year-old years old this past season. Over 44 games, he hit .247 with a 31.2% on-base rate, six homers, and 19 RBIs. He tallied a 25.7% strikeout rate and an 8.8% walk rate. The most impressive thing about him, though, was his ability to transition to the outfield having never played any of the three positions.
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Cabrera spent 278.2 innings in the outfield, recording a perfect fielding percentage, making a few highlight grabs in the process. In fact, he tallied nine defensive runs saved above average, putting him in a prime position to serve as the team’s super utility option next season.
On the other hand, Peraza was also stellar during his small sample size of action. At 22 years old, he played in 18 games, earning a .306 average with a 40% on-base rate, one homer, and two RBIs. He logged a 15.8% strikeout rate and 10.5% walk rate, showing veteran-level at-bats at such a ripe age. Defensively, he was stout, notably at shortstop, where the Yankees expect to feature him after a tumultuous season from Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
In fact, IKF was benched during the playoffs in favor of Peraza, who showed elite glove work against the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS.
The Yankees are extremely excited about the prospect of Anthony Volpe, who transition from Somerset in AA to AAA Scranton this past season. Across both teams, he hit .249 with a 34% on-base rate, 21 homers, and 65 RBIs. He’s getting closer to making the jump to the MLB, and Steinbrenner hinted as much. The question is, will the Bombers feature Volpe at shortstop or at second base, with Peraza looking sharp defensively?
Ultimately, it depends on what the team does with Josh Donaldson and Gleyber Torres, who was on the trade market at the deadline this past August. Clearly, Cashman has his work cut out for him, but it is abundantly clear that the Yankees plan on utilizing their top young prospects moving forward.