Oswald Peraza is here. We’ve all been eagerly awaiting his arrival to the big leagues for various reasons. To this point, he’s looked good. He’s had a fair share of singles and walks while consistently putting the ball in play. His weird .238/.360/.333 small sample slash line has amounted to a 109 wRC+.
The real highlight has been the defense. He is incredible with the glove, and it’s clear he has excellent feel for where he is on the field and timing out plays. It’s been a delight to watch.
He hasn’t really been a regular starter, though, and that has been disappointing for the many fans, including myself, who have wanted to see what he can do at this level. He seemed to have figured out Triple-A in recent months. His home run total was up to 19. It felt he was crushing the ball consistently before his call-up. For that reason, I thought he would only be promoted if given the full opportunity to succeed or fail.
It seems like a clear argument. Minor league player who is scorching hot gets promoted to the next level to see if he can keep it up. In this case, he was being promoted to a position where the incumbent hasn’t necessarily done the most with the opportunity. If Peraza didn’t play to that floor, then at least you know you can plug the incumbent, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, back in and continue to do what he had done all year. I think that’s the idea behind the stopgap.
I’m only using the Yankees’ logic here. IKF was to serve as a stopgap until one of the shortstop prospects was ready for the show. Well, based on their decision to promote Peraza, it would seem that the team thinks he’s ready for the big time, right?
And yet here we are, a couple weeks into Peraza’s first major league spin, and he’s only started six times. The Yankees have called up him, but haven’t taken off the reins, instead giving him only semi-regular playing time, despite the lack of a clearly superior option. It forces one to ask the other end of the question: should the Yankees commit to giving Peraza the opportunity to fully prove what he can do, or send him back down and continue to let him work on his offensive craft?
When I initially thought of writing this article, I was enraged and thought the Yankees’ actions may seriously impact Peraza’s development, but that wasn’t entirely fair. Peraza still had the entire year in Triple-A, and as my fantastic editor Andrew Mearns pointed out, the Yankees have brought up big prospects for September/Playoff runs in the past and they panned out fine. This may be something similar. Perhaps they don’t want to put all the pressure in the world on him by throwing him into the fire to be the savior for a struggling team. From that perspective, it makes sense.
The counterpoint to that is there is still some time left in the minor league season in which Peraza could be working on the rest of his game. It’s not like he’s a perfect prospect who’s accomplished all he could in the minors, even with his summer hot streak. He could work on his swing and plate approach even more to see if he can remove a bit of the swing and miss issue that we hear about from scouts, or continue to develop his defensive versatility on the infield dirt.
In my opinion, it’s always more valuable for a player to play every day. Time spent on the bench is weird to me, when there is still a chance to have the player keep playing and developing! A swing click can happen at any time, but it’s hard to know if you’re not getting consistent at-bats.
This all probably won’t be a make-or-break decision. My expectation for Peraza’s offense in the majors is league average at best anyways, but this is the type of player that has shown he gets better with time and can make adjustments. Play him or send him down to play, is my plea to the Yankees.