Many New York Yankees fans have been wondering, for over a month now, if the team would be any different had manager Aaron Boone decided to give stud prospect Oswald Peraza more reps once the rosters expanded five weeks ago.
But Peraza’s only seen full-time action in a grand total of 13 games. Despite the fragmented playing time, the 22-year-old has managed to impress at the plate (.319 AVG., .843 OPS, 141 OPS+ with seven runs scored, a homer, two RBI, two stolen bases) and offer his defensive services at both shortstop and second (he didn’t make a single error in 115 innings).
Not many players make the most of their limited time on the field, especially following an abbreviated promotion for an MLB debut in the midst of a race for a division crown. But Peraza did. And he continues to impress with each passing appearance.
At the very least, the Yankees didn’t keep him at Triple-A to waste away for the remainder of the season. They gave him a taste in preparation for 2023. But did it have to be just a cup of coffee if the spark was there?
Not everything’s linear, but based on Peraza’s obvious skills and instincts, it’s hard to argue against the possibility that he would’ve snagged a postseason roster spot had he been afforded more playing time over Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who has no part in the team’s long-term plans.
Would Oswald Peraza have stolen a Yankees postseason roster spot if he played more?
Hey, there’s a reason Manager Anthony Rizzo played him in the series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays last week. He wanted to see more!
Outside of IKF’s experience, there’s not much more of an argument in his favor. His defense has left a lot to be desired (even though shortstop is a very hard, demanding position from which fans expect flawless results) and his offense is largely nonexistent outside of his elevated contact rate.
Otherwise, IKF is a really helpful utility player, not a starting shortstop. Had Peraza been given a true chance to force Boone into a tough decision, he could’ve been the starting shortstop while IKF got relegated to the bench for utility duties. It would’ve made it a lot easier to boot guys like Aaron Hicks and Tim Locastro from the postseason roster — neither of whom are needed assuming Matt Carpenter returns and Giancarlo Stanton can play some outfield.
If Hicks makes the roster, he’ll just be used as an extra outfielder and pinch hitter who might be able to work a walk. If Locastro makes the roster, he’s exclusively going to be used as a pinch runner, a role IKF could easily handle.
If Peraza was the starting shortstop or even on the bench, it’d just be an elevated version of whatever the Yankees are concocting without him. He stole 33 bases at Triple-A. Why couldn’t he be the pinch runner while also providing the ability to start a game or take over in the later innings?
Hicks and Locastro have had very little influence on this team in 2022, so it’s odd to assume that might change in the playoffs. IKF’s influence has been solid, but unspectacular. Peraza’s influence was sparkling, then dimmed. Boiling, then simmered. But by no fault of his own.
Just hope that this isn’t something the Yankees regret when the ALDS roster drops.