Yankees still pondering one big question ahead of Game 3 against Astros

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Oct 20, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (91) throws to first base on a ground out by Houston Astros center fielder Chas McCormick (20) during the seventh inning in game two of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees would’ve liked to avoid changing up their infield in the middle of the postseason, but injuries to DJ LeMahieu and inconsistencies from shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa forced their hand.

Kiner-Falefa struggled with a few routine balls against the Cleveland Guardians in the ALDS, eventually being replaced by Oswaldo Cabrera. Manager Aaron Boone was like they kicking himself for not including Oswald Peraza on the roster, who started Game 2 of the ALCS against Houston, showcasing his fantastic glove work but struggled in the batter’s box, as most of the Yankees did.

Peraza struck out twice in the loss, but given his lack of at-bats recently, expecting anything more was optimistic. However, his elite defense came up big in a few opportune moments, something that IKF struggled with in the past.

The Yankees are still trying to decide who will start at SS:

However, the Yankees still need to make a big decision on who will play shortstop for Game 3 on Saturday night. The justification for IKF playing would be his offensive contributions across 15 at-bats in the playoffs. He’s contributed four hits and a walk, posting a .267 average with a 35.3% on-base rate.

Despite Kiner-Falefa offering a bit more offensively than Peraza, given his usage, the decision should still be clear-cut that the rookie presents a shore-fire upgrade defensively and is a quality batter when given the opportunity.

During the regular season, the 22-year-old hit .306 with a 40.4% on-base rate, including a homer and two RBIs over 18 games. The sample size a small, but we’ve seen that Peraza can dominate against major league pitching, so it’s only a matter of time before he makes good contact and gets on base, where he has plus speed. He stole two bases during a short stint of action during the regular season, so he has value on multiple fronts.

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