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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/21/23

Peraza’s new peepers; Calhoun’s spring strides; DJ’s health a key factor; Yankees’ catching tandem previewed

MLB: MAR 16 Spring Training - Pirates at Yankees Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New York Post | Dan Martin: The Yankees’ shortstop competition is wide open, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa working out at multiple positions and the Yankees signaling they’re at least interested in one of the kids taking on the role. For Oswald Peraza, a trip to the eye doctor revealed some nearsightedness and corrective lenses have him feeling sharper than ever in the field. Peraza revealed he’d previously struggled with picking up signs from his catcher, and if he’s a prospect built on a strong glove, one only imagines how much better he can be when he’s seeing 20/20.

New York Daily News | Gary Phillips: The Yankee roster is always a tough one to crack, but Willie Calhoun, one of the team’s non-roster invitees to spring training, may have an inside track. The corner outfielder started his workouts early to hit the ground running in camp, and his .947 OPS in spring ball vindicates some of that early work. Calhoun could find himself spelling time in left field, but he has an opt-out in his MiLB deal regardless, and some team will likely give him a shot with a spring performance like that.

Sports Illustrated | Pat Ragazzo: Speaking of great spring trainings, DJ LeMahieu has also been strong in his return to action, with an OPS over 1.000 and showing no signs of lingering foot problems. After Aaron Judge, DJ may be the most important cog in the Yankee offense, as the lack of a real leadoff presence last year forced Judge into that role and potentially left runs on the table as the MVP’s prodigious power often came through without men on.

FanGraphs | Dan Szymborski: The annual positional power rankings kicked off at FanGraphs yesterday, starting with a leaguewide look at catching. Jose Trevino is one of, if not the best defensive catcher in the game, but expected middling offensive production does limit the expected Trevino/Kyle Higashioka tandem. The pair still projects to be a top-10 unit in baseball, though, and any offensive surge makes them even more valuable.