Some New York Yankees fans who follow the team and farm system closely have certainly wondered why any discussion about the organization's prospects and Opening Day roster has typically overlooked Oswald Peraza.
The 22-year-old has done all that's been asked of him thus far in his professional career. He climbed the ladder in the minor leagues (with the exception of bolstering his OPS at Triple-A after 99 games) and was impressive in all facets of his game when he debuted in MLB.
Pessimistic Yankees fans claim the team is "running it back" for 2023 because the offseason didn't usher in enough "change," but what do you call a full season of Harrison Bader? A new rotation featuring Carlos Rodón at the top with Gerrit Cole? A new starting shortstop, likely in the form of Peraza? That's a very different team!
All this time, the prospect hype has zoned in on Anthony Volpe, and for good reason. But Peraza's been pushed aside in the discussions as they've deviated toward other names like Jasson Dominguez, Austin Wells and even Spencer Jones.
Maybe that's a good thing because it'll alleviate the pressure on Peraza come Opening Day, but it's about time somebody talked glowingly about Peraza. Thank you, Sam Dykstra of MLB.com!
MLB Pipeline gives some props to Yankees' Oswald Peraza
The first potential breakout rookie mentioned was Peraza! How about that! Turns out hitting .306 with an .832 OPS and 139 OPS+ while providing impressive defense holds some weight in future outlooks!
Some argued the Yankees actually waited too long to call up Peraza. Many wanted him up with the team right after the trade deadline, but general manager Brian Cashman waited for rosters to expand in September. There was certainly an argument to be had about Peraza requiring a bit more refinement at Triple-A ... but how much more? He was crushing bombs and stealing bases. Was his .261 average and .773 OPS really in need of drastic improvement if the other tools were present?
He was making plays like this in the postseason, so what did it matter if his bat may have been lagging a bit?
Some think Volpe might take the starting shortstop job out of spring training or by the second half of the season, but right now it's Peraza's to lose, and he's shown no indication of relenting, especially after being thrust into the postseason spotlight without warning.
ESPN's Kiley McDaniel told FanSided's Kevin Henry that, while Volpe may be the centerpiece, it's possible he'll eventually slide to second to slot alongside Peraza, who deserves more love, too.
"“He has been the guy who might be the future potential shortstop of the Yankees for a long time, since like Low-A, and is a knock-down, above-average defender who can really run and really hit and has like added power to his game in a way that I don’t think you would expect a lot of guys to be able to do that are of his background and build and things like that,” McDaniel offered. “He’s shown that potential to increase his ability at a level that you wouldn’t expect the average guy to, which I think sort of speaks to the mental makeup needed to make the improvements.”"- Kiley McDaniel
Expect a competition, sure, but don't waste your time writing off Peraza ... and don't think any less of him because the publicity has been limited.