The Yankees are in love with Oswald Peraza’s swing, athleticism, and defense

Gleyber Torres is, as things stand right now, the New York Yankees’ shortstop of the future, especially now that he worked on his conditioning during the offseason and looks lighter on his feet. The team is willing to give him every opportunity to show that he has the defensive range to play the position at least for the next five years or so.

However, the Yankees also know that they have to be prepared should Gleyber fail to defend his position adequately. Fortunately, they have a very promising teenager in the minor leagues that is shaping up as a future option at shortstop.

Currently rated as the fourth-best prospect on the Yankees by MLB Pipeline, Oswald Peraza’s arrow is pointing up.

Peraza went 0-for-2 in a little cameo during Grapefruit League play for the Yankees this week.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said to NJ Advance Media that he is “still a little ways away, but he’s a guy from a future standpoint that we’re about as excited as you can be.”

The Yankees’ glove-first shortstop of the future

Peraza’s profile is different than Gleyber. Torres is a bat-first, plus-power shortstop, whereas Peraza’s strength is his glove. He is considered a plus defender at a premium position, so the chances of him being an everyday player someday are quite high.

“He’s going to be able to stay as shortstop,” a pro scout told NJ Advance Media. “And the ball comes off his bat. In 2019, I saw the raw power in batting practice. But just the poise and the way that he carries himself and plays shortstop for a young kid. I like Peraza a lot.”

Boone explained that the Yankees are in love with Peraza. “His swing, his athleticism, his hands in the field,” he said. “I mean, he looks like an everyday shortstop. And he’s acquitted himself. He carries himself really well. I’m excited about him.”

He figures to start the season at High-A ball, but the Yankees are hoping he can make it to Double-A this season and be called up next year.

New York Yankees Analysis: Is there an heir apparent for Gleyber Torres?

There are four big stories in an offseason for the New York Yankees that has been filled with inaction. One is hardly a secret; the Yankees have put all moves to improve the team for the 2021 season while they wait out negotiations with second baseman and batting champ DJ LeMahieu. The team wants a contract for three years, and DJ wants the security of a five-year contract. Meanwhile, the Yankee’s need for pitching both starting and in the bullpen sits awaiting action. The Yankees have pretty well decided that Gary Sanchez will again be their starting catcher when they awarded him a contract for the season. But today, we talk about that fourth need, an upgrade at shortstop.

Like Sanchez, the Yankees seem to be going with Gleyber Torres again at shortstop. They feel he can bounce back from a subpar hitting season and return to form. However, on the defensive end, they are most hopeful he can improve. The reality is that the Yankees do not see Torres as their long term answer that Derek Jeter was. Torres just doesn’t get to the ball fast enough, and his throwing arm from short has not been as accurate as it needs to be.

The Yankees were very interested in obtaining Francisco Lindor, baseball’s best shortstop. However, with their desire to stay below the luxury tax threshold, they didn’t feel comfortable parting with too many assets in a trade; meanwhile, the crosstown New York Mets, flush with money from new owner Steve Cohen swooped up both Lindor and pitching veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco. The Yankees still have an interest in Andrelton Simmon, also a highly rated shortstop. But here again, that acquisition likely won’t happen if the Yankees sign LeMahieu.

Although fans will probably not see a change at short this season, there is hope for the future. Sitting in the minors is one of the best up and coming shortstops out there. His name is Oswald Peraza. He could be the Yankee’s long-term solution for the shortstop of the future. MLB.com list Peraza as the New York Yankees number four prospect. But they also list him as their choice for the Yankees break out prospect in 2021.

The Yankees signed the then 17-year-old Venezualan after the 2016 season for $175K as an international free agent. He has worked his way up through the New York Yankee’s minor league system ending up in Charleston with the River Dogs in 2019. His pluses are that he is Tyler Wade fast on the basepaths, has good bat speed, and is an excellent defender at short with an accurate arm. He ended the 2019 season with two teams hitting .263 while stealing 23 bases in just 65 games.  Now at age 20, he is still developing and getting stronger. He will likely spend the 2021 season with the Somerset Patriots, just a two-hour drive from Scranton Wilkes/Barre, where he will probably end up.  The Yankees protected him from the Rule 5 draft this year, adding him to the 40 man roster.

There were no Minor League games due to COVID-19 in. However, Peraza played winter ball in Venezuela for the Cardenales de Lara. He played in six games, hitting .250 with a .713 OPS.

Peraza probably won’t see any action at Yankee Stadium during the 2021 season, but if he continues to advance like he has, he could have an impact during the 2022 season when he will still only be 22 years old. Scouts see Peraza’s hitting ability improve as he is seeing the ball better and not striking out as frequently. Make no mistake; he is still developing but could very well be an impact player for the Yankees for many years to come.

 

New York Yankees: Scouts not heaping praise on Gleyber Torres’s defense, check it out

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees decided after the last season not to take up the options for any players, and that included shortstop Didi Gregorius.  After an injury season, the Yankees didn’t make an aggressive attempt to sign him to a new contract, and he remained a free agent until mid-December when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for $14 million on a one-year contract deal.

At the same time, the Yankees, along with many other teams, put together an offer to acquire star shortstop Francisco Lindor from the Indians.  The Indians did not accept the offer, and the details of the proposal were never released.   At that point, the Yankees decided on using Gleyber Torres.

Near the end of last season, New York Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman answered questions about Torres and his sophomore year.  Both media and fans alike wondered if he would suffer from a sophomore jinx.  Cashman said he was having a tremendous year, which he was, ending the season with 38 home runs and a batting average of .278.

“I think he’s answered in a resounding way. And he’s displayed his versatility, too. His sophomore season started with him having to fill in for Didi (Gregorius) at shortstop and then swing over to second and, at the same time, still not miss a beat, still thrive with a much better year than last year. It’s pretty impressive.”

The only thing Cashman was leaving out of his rosy assessment was the downside.  He committed 9 errors at 2nd and 11 at shortstop, those aren’t horrible, but they are also not what you want to see from an infielder, especially a shortstop. The eleven figure is for just 77 games played at short.  In comparison, Lindor had 32 homers while batting .286.  Lindor had 10 errors in 312 assists compared to Torres’s 11 errors in only 180 assists.

Enter the 2020 spring training season.  New York Yankee scouts were not thrilled with his performance at short, although he was above average at the plate.  He hit three home runs and batted .320 in seven partial games.  But at shortstop in seven partial games, he committed five errors looking very uncomfortable at his position.  He even missed choppers and overthrew his returns.  One scout said:

“It’s a concern,” said the scout, who requested anonymity so that he could give an honest opinion. “I don’t think it’s a concern that Torres can get routine ground balls or get to the ball and throw the ball. But when you look at a quality shortstop – balls in the hole, choppers that come in, arm with range – when I see Torres play shortstop, I see an adequate defender at best.”

What is odd about this, is that short is his natural position.  But, what happens in the minor leagues doesn’t always translate to the major leagues.  So, now what do the New York Yankees do if Torres can’t field his position.  There are some options, an obvious one would be to move DJ LeMahieu to short and slide Torres over to second where he is a better defender.  DJ has had limited experience at short but is a more versatile athlete.

Other than DJ, the Yankees only have Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe.  Peraza is 19 years old, famous Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter made his major league debut at age 21.  Peraza in 44 games with Charleston hit 2 home runs while batting .273.  He has good defensive skills at short.  The other Anthony Volpe was just signed this year he is very smooth at short but can’t hit.  Volpe is probably a few years off, while Peraza might have to fill in at some point this year.  The Yankees certainly don’t want to lose Gleyber Torres’s bat, but if he’s a flop at short, the negatives might outway the positives.

New York Yankees Prospects: Oswald Peraza

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Well, there’s not going to be any New York Yankees baseball to talk about for a while due to opening day being pushed back due to COVID-19. However, just because the baseball has temporarily stopped, doesn’t mean we have to stop with the content here on ESM. With that in mind, I’ve decided to take a dive into a lot of the Yankees top prospects and will be releasing a number of articles over the next couple of weeks discussing the Yankees farm system. While there are certainly some names that stand out to most Yankees fans (Jasson Dominguez, Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, etc) there are a number of really talented guys that Yankees fans should be keeping their eyes on. Many Yankees fans have been worried lately about the ability of Gleyber Torres when it comes to the shortstop position. There is no questioning Gleyber’s ability at the plate, but more his ability to make the defensive plays expected out of a top shortstop. Well, there’s a prospect that is coming up the Yankees system currently that would be a great long-term shortstop for the New York Yankees. A prospect that could slide into the SS position in a couple of years which would allow Gleyber to switch to the position he’s clearly more comfortable in, second. That prospect’s name is Oswad Peraza.

Outlook on Peraza

Peraza was signed as an international free agent by the Yankees back in 2016, and he made his pro debut back in 2017. Since making his debut, Peraza has shown a lot of scouts why he’s now currently ranked as the fourth best prospect in the Yankees system. The smooth shortstop from Venezuela impacts the game on all sides of the ball. He’s very quick and stole 23 bases in just 65 games in 2019. Peraza is very smooth on the defensive side of the ball as well. He’s got solid range and can deliver easy and smooth throws from deep in the position. Peraza also swings the bat very well, and has a good amount of pop from the shortstop position. Many think Peraza could be a guy who could hit about 20-25 HRs a year in the big leagues if he continues down the path that he’s currently going. On big thing for me in watching Peraza last year was seeing his strikeout numbers go down. In 29 more games last year, Peraza struck out four fewer times. He’s seeing the ball better, and I think you’ll see his offensive numbers continue to tick up. Peraza has all the tools to be an impact player at the MLB level, but he’s still got a lot of developing to do before we see him there. Whenever we start playing games this year, Peraza is going to be a prospect that a lot of fans need to keep their eyes on.

Shortstop Moving Forward

The New York Yankees are going to be looking at long-term solutions at Shortstop. I really do not think the organization envisions Gleyber Torres there long-term. Maybe the Yankees go out and make a big splash when it comes to their future SS, say a Francisco Lindor. Or maybe they try to keep their cost down and produce their next SS internally which would likely mean Peraza will eventually get a shot. Time will tell on that front, but Peraza is definitely a prospect I have my eyes on.