Yankees may have their future third baseman on the roster

mlb: new york yankees at detroit tigers, oswald peraza
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

As the off-season looms on the horizon, the New York Yankees are poised for significant changes. Whether it’s in the front office or across various positions on the field, transformations are afoot. A position currently in the spotlight is third base—a spot that was previously held by Josh Donaldson until the Yankees waived him, opening the door for the Milwaukee Brewers to scoop him up.

The Departure of Donaldson: A Void at the Hot Corner

Josh Donaldson, though defensively sound at third base for the past two seasons, lagged in offensive output. This imbalance ultimately led the Yankees to cut ties with him. To fill the void, they called up young prospect Oswald Peraza, who’s been showing considerable promise lately. If Peraza maintains this momentum over the next three weeks, there’s a solid chance he could vie for the starting role at third base.

Oswald Peraza: A Rising Star in the Making?

The 23-year-old infielder has had an underwhelming season, batting only .180 with a .281 OBP and nine RBIs. However, the winds seem to be shifting in his favor. After an initial struggle in August, Peraza has started to find his groove this September. In his last five games, which comprise 19 at-bats, he boasts a .368 batting average, a .368 OBP, a .526 slugging rate, and an .895 OPS. His recent stellar performance against the Detroit Tigers underlines this upward trend.

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More than Just a Bat: Peraza’s Gold Glove Potential

While young prospects have been invigorating the Yankees’ lineup, Peraza brings more than just a bat to the table. His Gold Glove-caliber defending could make him a full-time third-base candidate. This season, he has played 164 innings at third base, committing just a single error and securing a .977 fielding percentage. Though his defensive stats are around average at the moment, more experience should render him a dependable asset for the team.

Free Agent Possibilities: Could the Yankees Target Jeimer Candelario?

An alternative route for the Yankees could involve pursuing a free agent like Jeimer Candelario. The 29-year-old veteran has a batting average of .257 and an OBP of .339 this season, along with a career-high 21 home runs. Being a switch-hitter, Candelario could add some much-needed diversity to the Yankees’ lineup. His defensive stats are passable, with a .971 fielding percentage, -2 defensive runs saved, and three outs above average over 967 innings this year.

A Crossroads for Peraza: The Future Hangs in the Balance

Should the Yankees decide to bring in another third baseman, the landscape could shift for Peraza. With shortstop, second base, and first base positions already claimed and DJ LeMahieu flexing as the utility player, Peraza’s place within the team could become uncertain. A trade involving him might become increasingly likely.

For the time being, Peraza has the window of opportunity to make a lasting impression over the next few weeks. A strong performance could make a compelling case for him to at least contend for the starting role at third base.