The New York Yankees are in the middle of a position battle at shortstop. One way or another, the Yankees will have their answer come Opening Day at the end of March, but things aren’t getting any easier, especially with Anthony Volpe showing out early in spring training and Oswald Peraza also performing well.
Heading into spring, Isiah Kiner-Falefa may have had a leg up given his veteran experience, but Peraza showcased Gold Glove level defense over an 18-game sample size last year, not including a few stellar moments against the Houston Astros in the ALCS.
The fans would suggest Peraza has the advantage, but the Yankees may view IKF as their starter until he is successfully beaten out. However, Volpe is making a strong push to be considered for the Opening Day 26-man roster, having put together competitive at-bats and showcased his defensive prowess.
During Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Washington Nationals, Volpe turned a smooth throw to second base in a double-play attempt. He then went on to execute a high-IQ double play, fielding the ball at shortstop and causing a pickle between second base and third base. He found himself at second base, waiting for the additional runner to try and make a move, tagging him out and displaying his value as a fielder.
Already having veteran maturity and capable of hitting MLB-level pitching, the Yankees may have a difficult time keeping Volpe down. In fact, the only way I can see it happening is due to the number of infielders they currently have competing for starting jobs. There’s a very real possibility that IKF ends up as a utility piece, and DJ LeMahieu roves around the infield, supplementing injury and fatigue. The Yankees can’t have all of these players on the roster, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded IKF or even Gleyber Torres, despite his strong start of spring.
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The Yankees are holding out high hopes for Oswald Peraza:
Peraza is focused on only what he can control, enjoying five at-bats this spring. He’s posted two hits, hitting .400. The 22-year-old is a defensive maestro, but his offensive production is certainly a big question for the Yankees heading into the 2023 campaign.
“I felt really good coming into camp. But honestly, I’m focused on my work and my job and my responsibilities,” Peraza said. “I understand there is a competition for shortstop, but for me, I’ve got to walk my path. I’ve got to focus on what I need to do and pay attention to the small details.”Via MLB.com.
At the end of the day, Peraza and Volpe will end up starting for the Yankees at some point, it’s just a matter of what position and when.
Oswald will likely be on the Opening Day roster, but Volpe could start his campaign in Triple-A, fighting to get promoted as he adjusts to another level of competition. IKF, on the other hand, could be considered a trade piece moving forward, especially after the Los Angeles Dodgers lost one of their starting infielders to an ugly knee injury.