Yankees have their future 3rd baseman on the roster

mlb: arizona diamondbacks at new york yankees, oswald peraza
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees, while gearing up for a pivotal off-season, might already possess an in-house solution to some of their dilemmas. Filling the void left by Josh Donaldson, especially given his offensive challenges, could potentially hinge on promoting one of their promising prospects to MLB duties.

Brian Cashman, the team’s general manager, might be eyeing the free agent market for an adept third baseman. However, the spotlight is on 23-year-old Oswald Peraza as a cost-effective alternative. Exhibiting traits of a future Gold Glove infielder, Peraza is steadily shaping his offensive profile.

Within his 47-game stint with the Yankees this season, he’s recorded a .201 batting average, .281 OBP, alongside two home runs and 14 RBIs, showcasing a 62 wRC+. Impressively, his recent surge in form, particularly in September, witnessed him achieve a .274 batting average and a .303 OBP, highlighting his ascending trajectory.

With 73 at-bats this month, Peraza’s batting prowess is emerging, suggesting he could be a cornerstone for the Yankees next season. Despite limited MLB exposure, primarily due to the Yankees’ faith in Donaldson’s potential resurgence, Peraza has shown promising flashes. Allocating a $50 million, two-season contract to Donaldson made sidelining him a challenging decision. Yet, recurring injuries and underwhelming performance compelled the Yankees to reconsider.

Defensive Acumen

On the defensive front, Peraza clocked 279 innings this season and achieved a commendable .963 fielding percentage. His metrics, although on par currently, have the potential to skyrocket with more playing time. Serving as a competent substitute for Donaldson, Peraza’s potential evolution could bolster the Yankees’ defensive ranks, particularly in the challenging third baseman spot.

Free Agent Options for the Yankees

While Peraza’s ascendancy is noteworthy, the Yankees still have other cards to play. Jeimer Candelario, a 29-year-old switch hitter, emerges as a tempting prospect. Candelario’s recent performance, boasting a .253 average, .338 OBP, 21 home runs, 69 RBIs, and a 118 wRC+, is a testament to his caliber. While he’s inching toward the age of 30, the Yankees could leverage his defensive prowess. However, their focus might shift towards a younger talent with exponential growth potential.

Faith in Peraza

The underlying narrative remains: Oswald Peraza has the arsenal to anchor the Yankees’ infield. All that’s needed is a dose of trust and ample opportunities for him to validate his potential. Diversifying their options, by potentially integrating another seasoned infielder, could foster a competitive environment. Especially if the front office is hesitant to invest heavily in a marquee name, this strategy could pay dividends.

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