Neither was ready by Opening Day, but a more aggressive organization would’ve used one of the top-tier talents sooner than the Yankees did. An organization like, say, the Astros, who filled Carlos Correa’s shoes with eventual ALCS and World Series MVP Jeremy Peña.
Peña struggled as 2022 dragged on! But he came through in October. He has that gene, and the regular season doubtlessly helped. That’s what counts.
Before 2022 wrapped, the Yankees did make a few aggressive moves with both Peraza and Volpe, calling the former up for the stretch run (and starting him in Game 2 of the ALCS in Houston), while elevating the latter all the way to Triple-A (though no further).
Volpe hit the ground running in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but didn’t “conquer the level,” as Jack Curry stated was the Yankees’ goal for both shortstops on YES Network’s “Hot Stove” show this week.
As for whether fans can expect an Opening Day middle infield featuring both über prospects? Don’t count on it, though Curry says the Yankees should be in position to tell Peraza it’s his job well before any sort of Spring Training competition.
If you thought the team’s sporadic use of their No. 2 prospect down the stretch signaled the opposite, it seems you were mistaken.
YES Network’s Jack Curry believes Yankees should hand Oswald Peraza shortstop job
Also, points for John Flaherty’s hilarious question, “Is IKF a backup infielder?” Uh … yeah, man! If either Volpe or Peraza are made to look over their shoulders at Isiah Kiner-Falefa behind them, then something has gone terribly wrong.
Still just 22 years old until midway through next season, Peraza hit .308 with an .833 OPS in 49 at-bats in September/October, coming a long way from his emasculating MLB debut in the ninth inning of a blowout in Tampa.
As for a second baseman in Volpe’s stead, Curry suggests “veteran” Gleyber Torres, who will still only be freshly 26 years old on Opening Day. Coming off a roller coaster season in which he still managed to drill 24 homers, keeping Torres is probably a better idea than banking on DJ LeMahieu’s health, but that hasn’t halted trade rumors from percolating.
Odds are, on Opening Day, Yankee fans will only be rooting for one of their two forthcoming prizes. Before too long, expect Volpe to be making a push as well — presuming he gets his April and May conquering done on schedule.