FanGraphs projections for Yankees top infield prospects show wait might be longer

PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Tommy Pham #29 of the Tampa Bay Rays safely steals second base past Oswaldo Cabrera #98 of the New York Yankees during the Grapefruit League spring training game at Charlotte Sports Park on February 24, 2019 in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Tommy Pham #29 of the Tampa Bay Rays safely steals second base past Oswaldo Cabrera #98 of the New York Yankees during the Grapefruit League spring training game at Charlotte Sports Park on February 24, 2019 in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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There’s a solid chance these projections are WAY off, but it’s anyone’s guess what the New York Yankees‘ front office is thinking since we’ve received hardly any intel since the lockout began nearly three months ago.

Shortstop remains the biggest question mark, but a lot of fans have become distracted by the Freddie Freeman discourse because … who wouldn’t?! You can put a donkey at shortstop after signing Freeman and nobody would care.

But … we’ve seen what happens when there’s not an adequate option at shortstop, so in the end, there needs to be a viable solution. And over the last few months, some thought there was an obvious one.

The Yankees farm system is currently stacked with shortstops, and a few reside at the top of the rankings and in the higher levels of the minor leagues (we can expect Anthony Volpe to start the season at Double-A).

Though Volpe beginning 2022 on the Opening Day roster seems like a longshot (though we’ve pitched it!), there was belief that perhaps Oswald Peraza or Oswaldo Cabrera could assume the starting shortstop duties for the big league club if they impressed enough in spring training.

Sadly, if we are to use FanGraphs’ Steamer projections as a guide, that’s … not going to happen. And it’s not going to be particularly close.

The Yankees might not put a prospect at shortstop on Opening Day.

Let’s go through each of the prospects nearing MLB that can play shortstop and look at their Steamer projections:

Volpe not cracking MLB just yet isn’t exactly surprising, but 34 COMBINED games for Peraza and Cabrera, both of whom have already reached Triple-A and proved last year they could be making an impact in the Bronx earlier than expected?

Peraza dominated both High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset before appearing in eight games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Cabrera, on the other hand, tore up Double-A Somerset and saw nine games at Triple-A, but hit five homers and 11 RBI in that limited time.

Here are the two top prospects’ total numbers from 2021:

  • Peraza – .297/.356/.477 with 76 runs scored, 18 homers, 58 RBI and 38 stolen bases in 115 games
  • Cabrera – .272/.330/.533 with 72 runs scored, 29 homers, 89 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 118 games

Maybe the Yankees either don’t think they’re ready for the next step or want to see more from them in Triple-A before making such a monumental decision. The projections seem to be right in line with that philosophy, which isn’t necessarily out of the question.

However, we’re talking about THREE potential five-tool studs that have the capability of playing shortstop. You mean to tell us ONE might not be ready to be a big leaguer in a few months? We’ve been shocked by many more unexpected developments before, but the data from FanGraphs deflates our hopes just a bit.