After weeks of Brian Cashman opting to freeze in place rather than promote Oswald Peraza, the Yankees made a meaningful move for the future on Thursday evening, expanding their roster by two members: their Triple-A star shortstop, and Marwin González.
Plenty of questions still lingered. Did Cashman get bullied into pushing the Peraza button by hordes of angry fans? Or was this in the cards all along? Will Peraza play? If so, where? Or was this just a courtesy bump, much like Derek Jeter’s faux-rise at the end of the 1995 season?
While it remains uncertain just how often Peraza will take the field as the Yankees look to fend off the Rays and Blue Jays, the team indicated a bit later on Thursday night just how seriously they took his promotion.
At the very least, Peraza won’t be viewed as a quick infusion of talent to be discarded at the drop of a hat if he struggles early, like Estevan Florial a few weeks back. The Yankees immediately back-filled his previous job by promoting Anthony Volpe from Double-A to get a well-earned few weeks in Scranton to wrap the season.
That signaled a level of dedication to the “Peraza as a big-leaguer” concept, as well as a sign that the team intends to use Volpe at the MLB level in 2023, if the situation dictates it.
Yankees’ Anthony Volpe takes Oswald Peraza’s spot at Triple-A
Volpe’s 2022 season-opening struggles at Double-A helped weigh down his overall numbers, which are now beginning to look rather impressive anyway (.820 OPS, 44 stolen bases in 110 Double-A games will play). His batting average sits at .251 in large part, though, because he was hitting .203 at the end of May.
If the Yankees intend to use Volpe by the end of the 2023 season, either at short or second base (as has been rumored), then they’d be wise to limit that adjustment period by any means necessary.
If they could somehow condense it all into Sept. 2022, that would be perfect.
Volpe may not hit the ground running at Triple-A this time around, and that’s fine. Either way, the Yankees have started his clock there earlier than most anticipated after he mastered Double-A, and he’ll be arriving at the edge of the learning curve just as his fellow piece of the middle infield future is meeting the Yanks in Tampa. That’s a player development win for an organization that could use more tangibles.
By July, the numbers prove that Volpe had mastered the strike zone in Somerset, dictating at-bats and putting the onus back on Double-A pitching to find the zone. He was more than willing to take a walk by the end, and had cut down on his whiffs significantly.
While there’s a chance his Triple-A cameo could put an unfortunate dent in his full-season numbers if he struggles from the get-go, the bruises will be more than worth it when he hits the ground running next year. The Yankees are showing some foresight here. Hopefully, they’ll be rewarded.