Yankees promising young infielder shows offensive quality

mlb: new york yankees at houston astros, oswald peraza
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ 2024 roster might look dramatically different compared to the lineup on Opening Day 2023. The organization’s strategy seems to be pivoting towards harnessing the energy of younger, high-upside talents over tried-and-tested MLB veterans who have refined their fundamentals in the minor leagues.

So far, the gamble is paying off; the Yankees clinched a series win against the formidable Houston Astros after promoting their young talent.

Oswald Peraza: A Breakout Performance Against the Astros

Stealing the limelight on Saturday night was infielder Oswald Peraza, the hero in a tight 5–4 win over the Astros. Peraza, who’s had a rough patch since his most recent promotion, seemed to find his groove, going 3-for-4, including two singles and a double, and driving in a crucial RBI in the second inning.

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The Journey of Peraza: Stats and Struggles

Although Peraza’s season batting average stands at a paltry .157, his recent performance highlighted his skills as a contact hitter. His road to consistent performance may only require more at-bats to aid his development. Peraza initially lost the starting shortstop position to Anthony Volpe during spring training, resulting in another stint at Triple-A. Across 63 games in Triple-A this season, he sported a .268 average, a .357 OBP, 14 homers, 36 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, an 18.3% strikeout rate, a 9.7% walk rate, and a 107 wRC+.

Triple-A vs MLB: The Contrast in Peraza’s Numbers

Though he improved his Triple-A stats from the previous year, Peraza couldn’t quite mimic the impressive .306 average and .404 OBP he managed in 18 major-league games at the tail end of the 2022 season.

The Versatility Factor: Peraza as a Defensive Asset

Oswald Peraza isn’t merely a hitter with upside; he’s also a Gold Glove-caliber defensive asset. He could potentially secure a starting spot at third base next season, particularly if the Yankees refrain from making splashy free-agent acquisitions. His flexibility is a massive plus for the Yankees. He can capably play third base, shortstop, and second base, offering the team a valuable blend of elite defense and versatility.

Defensive Numbers: Fielding Stats and Versatility

During this season, Peraza has clocked 137 innings at third base and boasts a .973 fielding percentage, with just one error at the hot corner. Considering his limited experience at third base in the minors, his ability to adapt and offer even average defense in a major-league setting is impressive.

Consistency is Key: What Peraza Needs for Success With the Yankees

Ultimately, Peraza possesses all the tools needed to become a productive MLB player. The Yankees need to provide him with consistent playing time rather than yo-yoing him between leagues.

Saturday’s game against the Astros was a testament to his potential at the highest level of the sport, and he’ll be looking to build on that momentum Sunday night.