Yankees continue to ignore rookie shortstop after strong start to MLB career

Alexander Wilson
new york yankees, oswald peraza
Sep 7, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (91) reacts to hitting a double against the Minnesota Twins during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been incredibly inconsistent regarding their deployment strategy with rookie shortstop Oswald Peraza after calling him up at the beginning of September.

Peraza has played in seven games, totaling 21 at-bats, featuring a .238 average with a 36% on-base rate, including five hits and three walks, striking out four times. Peraza has looked like a veteran at the plate, facing off against a solid Tampa Bay Rays team and tantalizing the Minnesota Twins over a three-game set last week.

Why are the Yankees not using Oswald Peraza more?

The Yankees have ignored Peraza over the past few days, having not made an appearance in the team’s last four games. Notably, they’ve moved Josh Donaldson back to third base and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to shortstop, the position he’s featured at all year long.

With Gleyber Torres starting to step up his offensive production, manager Aaron doing feels confident with him at second base, which isn’t a surprise.

There is an argument to make that Peraza should be starting at shortstop with IKF at third base. Donaldson has looked a bit better in September, hitting .208 with a 36.7% on-base rate, recording three hits in his last three games, including a homer and one RBI.

The elevation of Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been even more exciting for the Yankees, who have been patiently awaiting his best self.

In September, he’s hitting .351 with a 41.5% on-base rate, two homers, and seven RBIs. After making a switch to third base with Peraza featuring alongside him, IKF suddenly broke free of the chains holding him back but has continued his dominance since making the switch back to shortstop.

Peraza or Donaldson — a question the Yankees have to consider?

The real argument to be had is that Donaldson has been polarizing offensively but is a stout defensive third baseman. On the season, Donaldson features a .958 fielding percentage on the hot corner with nine defensive runs saved above average, one of the best numbers in his career. That defensive quality is something the Yankees don’t want to compromise, but IKF has won a Gold Glove at the position, and Peraza looked smooth and natural at shortstop.

This simply looks like a situation where the Yankees prefer a veteran in the lineup over a rookie, which is understandable if they continue to win games. However, their current success includes Peraza’s production, who has five hits in his last four games combined.

Seemingly, the only way Oswald can get on the baseball diamond is if the Yankees are looking to mitigate fatigue. Once Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu return, he may not see the field again unless injuries begin to rise down the stretch.