Why Yankees’ Wandy Peralta could be an October X-Factor

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 23: Wandy Peralta #58 of the New York Yankees reacts after getting the final out of a game against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium on August 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 23: Wandy Peralta #58 of the New York Yankees reacts after getting the final out of a game against the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium on August 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The New York Yankees have officially earned their place in the 2022 MLB Postseason. This seemed like an inevitability at one time in the campaign, but numerous ups and downs have made “just getting to the dance” a challenge.

Now, after months of slumping, the Bronx Bombers are officially locked in the No. 2 seed as the AL East champions, giving plenty of injured players time to rest up.

Obviously, there could be many October X-factors, but one would be remiss if they didn’t mention Wandy Peralta, one of many injured options who’ve left the team in the lurch down the stretch.

Injuries have hampered the Pinstripe bullpen, and have placed more stress on players like Clay Holmes, Ron Marinaccio, and Peralta, all of whom have been dinged up in recent weeks.

The lefty recently went on the IL himself with “spine tightness,” but will pitch at the makeshift “alternate site” at Double-A Somerset this week with the intent of returning for the postseason. When he arrives, he’ll be encountering a much different bullpen than the one he left.

Yankees will rely on Wandy Peralta in October

Given that the bullpen has been a major point of concern for the Yankees, with a de facto closer still undetermined, it’s clear that Peralta could be a “make or break” piece.

Through 56 games, Wandy has recorded a 2.72 ERA and a WHIP of 1.05. The advanced metrics dictate he’s been able to avoid supremely hard contact, and get hitters to chase at a high rate. His hard hit % and chase rate rank in the 90th and 89th percentile respectively.

Having a pitcher with this skillset is important for Postseason success. Not to say that any type of pitching isn’t an asset, but having an arm that can limit long balls is vital.

Peralta has also proven to be the type of pitcher who can cover multiple innings at a time. If Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, or Jameson Taillon are ever unable to toss 5 or 6 innings, the left-hander could bridge the gap to Marinaccio, Holmes, Schmidt, or whoever will be tasked with late-inning responsibilities.

It may even be Peralta himself who takes control of a late-inning situation, especially with Holmes dogged with a shoulder issue at the moment. Regardless, his value has flown under the radar amidst a heap of other storylines.

Postseason baseball calls for excellence on the hill. If Wandy Peralta could return stable and healthy, he could be a difference maker worth noting.