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Yanks banking on Peraza to be their #1 SS
5 months ago  ::  Jan 23, 2023 - 1:15PM #1
Posts: 7,610

The Yankees’ publicly-stated need entering the 2021 offseason was a shortstop. As fortune would have it, the greatest shortstop free agent class of all-time was about to hit the market. Seager. Correa. Semien. Baez. Story. One by one, they signed with teams that were not the Yankees. Fans watched incredulously as the team opted to trade for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and then irritably tolerated a season of subpar offense and defense at short. Improbably, another stellar class of shortstops became available following the 2022 season. Correa again. Turner. Bogaerts. Correa again. Swanson. Correa again. The Yankees never went near any of them. This would all be inexplicable if it weren’t for Oswald Peraza.

It has been declared that the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees this year will be the winner of a spring training competition. How much of a competition it will be is unknown, because it certainly feels like the job is Peraza’s to lose. It probably should be. He’s already had his taste of the big leagues and even boasts a Game 2 ALCS start on his resume. There is a legitimate complaint that he should have had more of an opportunity in the month of September to establish himself, but it is too late to do anything about that. Peraza’s domain is now the future.

There is perhaps some undue pressure on Peraza entering the 2023 season in that the Yankees did not upgrade their position player group in any way this offseason. The only way they can meaningfully improve their offense without relying upon the increased performance of players from the 2022 lineup is to have Peraza come in and surpass the production of Kiner-Falefa. The good news is he’s up to the task. At age 22, the right-handed hitter had a 139 OPS+ in just 49 at-bats for the big club. While it would be a surprise if Peraza performed at that level for a full season in 2023, the brief glimpse of his success as a hitter is not out of line with his potential.

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