It has certainly been a rough start for the New York Yankees this season. It’s a type of start that might not be worrying just yet, but could certainly get to that point if things don’t turn around.
The team is coming off a series in which they lost to the Baltimore Orioles, a team that is considered by many to be one of the worst in baseball. While certain players like Nestor Cortes have looked great to start the year, the same can be said about players like Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Gleyber Torres, who are key players in the team’s infield.
It’s certainly not time to press the panic button just yet, but it’s interesting to check out some alternatives in the Yankees farm system, a system that is full with great talent across the field. While I’ve already talked about Yankees talented prospect rated No. 8 by MLB.com, Anthony Volpe, there’s also another infielder who could be hitting at the bright lights of Yankee Stadium very soon.
That man is Oswald Peraza, a 21-year-old right handed shortstop from Venezuela. The young infielder has been in the Yankees’ farm system for years, dating back to 2016, when the shortstop was a part of the team’s international crop of prospects. While many players in that 2016 pool of prospects have since been dealt, Peraza has stayed developing his craft into the No. 2 prospect in the Yankees’ farm system.
There’s a reason that Peraza has started to gain plenty of traction within the Yankee fanbase. After the team did not go for any major talent at the shortstop position, like Carlos Correa or Trevor Story, there’s immense pressure on the team’s minor-league shortstops to develop into major-league level talent. While Volpe may not be there just yet, Peraza has shown that he may have what it takes to make the jump to the bright lights of the Bronx, especially with his current set of tools.
Peraza has plenty of potential at the plate. During his 2021 season between the A, AA, and AAA minor league levels, Peraza batted .297 with a .356 OPS and a .477 slugging percentage. The 21-year-old showcased some great qualities from the plate with solid contact and plenty of power that could definitely show up at the major league level. While the team’s main concern with Peraza is his offensive talent, it’s definitely something that can be developed even further, especially in a power-hitter friendly park like Yankee Stadium (hitters averaged 1.101 home runs at Yankee Stadium in 2021).
If there’s one skill that Peraza needs to improve on at the plate, it’s his plate discipline. It’s certainly not a great idea to bring up a hitter that’s too undisciplined at the plate, as seen by Peraza’s swinging at breaking balls in 2021. If the Yankees prospect can fix this part of his game, the sky’s the limit for where Peraza can go.
What sticks out the most is Peraza’s glove, which is already at the major league level. At 6-feet tall and 165 pounds, Peraza already possesses a great frame at the shortstop position with a great arm and speedy instincts to be a force at shortstop when he reaches the next level. He also has the tools that, if needed, could allow him to play at third base with his toolset.
If the Yankees do run into injuries with Josh Donaldson or another member of that infield, that could certainly cause manager Aaron Boone to send Peraza to the big leagues.
It’s hard to ignore Peraza’s speed as well. At 38 stolen bases in 2021, that’s definitely an awesome addition to his toolset, especially with the Yankees’ need for speed on the bases at the major league level. That speed would make Peraza an extra weapon in late inning situations if he were to make the Major League roster.
When you look at the total skillset of the No. 2 Yankees prospect, it’s clear that he has vast potential for a Yankees team that could use a beacon of hope. Yankees fans should be keeping an eye on the young shortstop as the 2022 season unfolds and Peraza continues to develop his game at the AAA level.