The New York Yankees‘ performance against the New York Mets on Wednesday night brought to light their lack of firepower, with a disappointing 1-15 with runners in scoring position.
In the absence of their star slugger Aaron Judge, their offense has notably lacked punch. Oswald Peraza, a rising infield prospect, could just be the much-needed energizer to reignite the Yankees’ offensive production.
But where would Peraza fit in the Yankees’ infield lineup, and how many reps could the Yankees realistically offer him?
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The Current Infield Situation and the Case for Oswald Peraza
The Yankees seem to have committed to Anthony Volpe and Gleyber Torres, who, despite being streaky overall, has been one of the more consistent hitters.
It seems the aging Josh Donaldson could be the player whose playing time might be reduced to accommodate Peraza.
Donaldson, the 37-year-old third baseman, has been hitting a poor .130 with a .212 OBP and .668 OPS. He recently returned from a hamstring injury but has yet to find his former form.
The Defensive Dimension and Peraza’s Potential
Donaldson’s defensive capabilities are not to be overlooked, boasting a perfect fielding percentage over 82 games, one defensive run saved, and one out above average.
Peraza, however, is renowned for his outstanding defensive skills and need not stretch much to offer more in the offensive department.
In his limited stint in the MLB, Peraza hit .259 with a .368 OBP but only .188 with a .316 OBP in 12 games this season. His performance at the Triple-A level this season is promising, hitting .306 with a .377 OBP, 10 homers, 22 RBIs, and seven stolen bases over 29 games. His 135 wRC+ indicates he is MLB-ready, but the Yankees seem to favor him more as a potential trade asset than a true starter.
The Yankees are trying to avoid mistakes
The Yankees’ recent decision to cut struggling outfielder Aaron Hicks, subsequently picked up by the Baltimore Orioles, makes GM Brian Cashman wary of a repeat scenario with Donaldson.
However, the reality is that Donaldson, at 38, seems to have lost his flair. The Yankees must be willing to experiment with different lineups and players to identify those who can make a difference. Peraza’s recent change in his hitting approach has paid off in Scranton, but transitioning to the MLB is an entirely different challenge.
“He’s currently finding this happy medium of ‘I can make really good swing decisions and not strike out a lot and still hit for power,’” Yankees’ Triple-A hitting coach Trevor Amicone said. “Whereas I think last year, between (Triple A) and the big leagues, there’s maybe that bouncing back and forth between ‘Who am I capable of being?’ I think now he’s in that spot where he’s beginning to realize that he could do both as long as the kid takes care of (everything) in the cage and with his body and game plans.”