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Yankees Mailbag: Kim Ng, projecting foreign leagues, and Peraza’s ceiling

It’s time to check in with the mailbag and see what the mood of the fanbase is while we wait for moves to begin.

Wild Card Series - Miami Marlins v. Philadelphia Phillies - Game One Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time to dive back into the mailbag and answer some of your questions. Remember to send in your questions for our bi-weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

ErgoPropterMalone asks: Here’s a question: Given Kim Ng’s ties to the Yankees, and departure from the Marlins, would it be smart for Cashman to move himself up a rung into some B.S. Baseball Ops role, and hire Kim to be the GM? Do we think she would be a good GM for this team? Do we think that move would make fans happy?

I don’t see it for several reasons, namely Ng’s insistence on avoiding such a scenario leading to her leaving Miami in the first place. There’s no world where Cashman elevating himself to a president of baseball operations position to welcome in a new GM wouldn’t come with a sizeable amount of influence on what the front office does still, and Ng has made it clear that she wants the opportunity to run a program without interference. (This is also the problem with any rumors connecting her to the Mets, given that they just hired erstwhile Brewers executive David Stearns as POBO.)

Given the Marlins’ turnaround and her career résumé I’d feel confident that she could do the job well, but it isn’t happening here. Maybe we can check back in a few years once Cashman’s contract runs out if she doesn’t find a long-term solution, but for now a homecoming isn’t likely.

OLDY MOLDY asks: How do the analytics project stats for a player coming from a foreign league?

There’s no set in stone translation that people agree on, though the common examination from the past is comparing say numbers from Japan to numbers from Triple-A and building off of the already-existing models there.

It’s an imperfect art, and when looking through any examples I could get my hands on I found this article from FanGraphs’ Jeff Zimmerman back in 2020 that attempted to average out ZiPS projections with a model from Clay Davenport, the latter of whom used Equivalent Average to measure and had a more recent piece to cite. Davenport, after seeing a trend across the board of underperformance from players specifically coming over from Japan, applied a 20-point penalty to his projections on these players heading into 2023. All of this is to say that its a bit arbitrary and imprecise, leading to a bigger role from traditional scouting overseas in landing the right players.

Damn_yanks asks: Do you think Oswald Peraza is going to be an above average hitter at the major league level? Yes, I know that he was an above average hitter in 2022, but it was a really SSS and that appeared to be low exit velo and high BABIP luck. This past season he did not hit well in another SSS and his Baseball Savant batting data is all blue. What’s your personal take on Oswald?

I think above-average is a lofty goal for Peraza, but he could be more than serviceable as simply an average hitter. He’s shown a fair deal of potential in the minors and his short stint in 2022, and it’s no coincidence that he was the first of the team’s top prospects to make it to the majors. There’s enough there to carve out a place in a starting lineup, but whether he ends up in the hazy area of being a Quad-A type of bat or actually develops into at least a decent bottom of the order option depends heavily on what he can do next year. Overall though, I don’t see him breaking beyond that barrier, but as long as his defense remains elite he may not need to in order to find his niche.