Yankees insider drops less-than-inspiring deep dive into Oswald Peraza's stats

Not what you want to see while gunning for an everyday role in 2024.
Washington Nationals v New York Yankees
Washington Nationals v New York Yankees / New York Yankees/GettyImages

So, you're the New York Yankees and you've decided to Play the Kids. Now what? Hope they're good, with no recourse if they're not?

New York's braintrust executed Part 2 of their plan (Part 1: Promote Anthony Volpe) a few weeks too late when they called up Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza to play every day down the stretch of a lost season prior to a late-August series with the Nationals. Pereira came up too late to eat into his 2024 rookie eligibility. Peraza, who's performed admirably if not spectacularly at Triple-A, needs a longer leash if the team is going to move on from Gleyber Torres this offseason.

Too late to make a real impact on the Yankees' 2023 chances, but early enough for both players to help the Yankees play spoiler and affect the offseason.

Only one problem so far? The Peraza who keeps his head down while nailing liners and excelling defensively at Triple-A has, uh, stopped doing "offense" every time he's been promoted to the bigs. As Chris Kirschner of The Athletic broke down this week, it'll be hard to trust him in a larger role next season unless he reverses some troubling trends.

Yankees top prospect Oswald Peraza hitting grounders, whiffing on fastballs

As Kirschner wrote Monday, with each word operating like a tiny knife to the gut:

"Going back to his September stint last season, one of the issues Peraza has faced in the big leagues is he hasn’t been the line-drive, fly-ball hitter he’s profiled as in the minors. In both 2022 and 2023, Peraza’s ground-ball rate has been over 56 percent.

Most alarmingly, Peraza has not been able to handle major-league fastballs. On 116 fastballs he’s seen this season, his batting average is just .040. One thing that may benefit Peraza long term is becoming more aggressive in the box. He has swung at just 62.4 percent of pitches in the zone, which would rank in the bottom 30 of all qualified hitters. He’s also swung at 56 percent of all pitches thrown down the middle of the plate. Better pitch recognition and taking advantage of more favorable pitches to hit could lead to better success."

Chris Kirschner, The Athletic

This is what happens when playing time is sporadic, but ... also ... the Yankees have been quite dismissive of Peraza, outside of starting him in last year's ALCS (good luck, kid!). All it took for Volpe to surpass him on the depth chart was an exciting three weeks of spring. Last summer, they held him in the minors and debuted him disrespectfully at the end of a blowout in Tampa. then used him sporadically down the stretch.

Perhaps his struggles with big-league fastballs and propensity for grounders will disappear over time. Or maybe this is what the Yankees feared all along, making us wonder yet again ... why they held onto a top-100 prospect forever when it appeared they didn't believe in his MLB future. Until Brian Cashman and Co. can prove they're excellent judges of prospect talent/still great at taking advantage of the knowledge only they possess, we're always going to wonder if they botched another one before giving them the benefit of the doubt.