Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across Major League Baseball. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged-in New York Yankees fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
The 2023 regular season will start in just a few days, and it’s time to see what fans think about two burning questions regarding the New York Yankees.
With Anthony Volpe virtually forcing the team’s hand, a very interesting battle for the shortstop position has been taking place in spring training. His main competitor? Fellow top prospect Oswald Peraza. Who will come out on top? Who is the preferred option?
Also, fans were asked about the Yanks’ biggest threat in the AL East, a division full of talent and teams going for it.
Here’s what Yankees fans think about the two questions:
The battle for the Yankees’ shortstop gig went well beyond spring training performance. If it was just that, Anthony Volpe would have been named the starter a while ago.
As of Friday night, the Yankees’ top prospect was hitting .277/.393/.574 with three home runs, five stolen bases and a .967 OPS. Oswaldo Peraza, on the other hand, was at a .205/.311/.333 line with a .644 OPS.
However, spring performance is not the only factor to consider. Peraza has aced Triple-A and had a successful cameo in MLB last year (146 wRC+ in 57 plate appearances), not to mention better defense and a nice power-speed combo in his own right. Between Scranton and the majors, he homered 20 times and stole 35 bases in 2022.
Volpe is setting the world on fire in exhibition games, as he did in Double-A (122 wRC+, 18 homers, 44 steals) last year. He still hasn’t mastered Triple-A yet, as he had a .718 OPS there in 99 trips to the plate.
Fans, however, apparently prefer Volpe at this point. The vote was close, though, so Peraza still has his boosters. What we do know is that Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Oswaldo Cabrera aren’t exactly popular options to start at shortstop for the Yanks, for different reasons.
The AL East is, perhaps now more than ever, one of the most competitive divisions in baseball. The Yanks won the division title last year, the Red Sox advanced to the AL Championship Series in 2021 and won it all in 2018, the Tampa Bay Rays went to the 2020 World Series, and the Baltimore Orioles are starting to blossom.
The people have spoken, though, and they have identified the Yankees’ biggest intra-divisional threat. A whopping 81 percent of the voters think the Blue Jays are the most dangerous foe in the AL East.
The theory indicates they are right. Any lineup with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, George Springer, Matt Chapman, Alejandro Kirk and Daulton Varsho should command respect, and their rotation has the potential to be a nasty unit with Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman at the top, the reliable Chris Bassitt in the middle, some bounceback potential in Yusei Kikuchi, and a future ace in Ricky Tiedemann who can be a factor in the second half.
14 percent of the voters believe the Rays, with a healthy Wander Franco and the eventual return of Tyler Glasnow, pose more of a threat than the Jays. If their pitchers remain healthy and Kyle Manzardo forces his way up eventually, Tampa has some serious potential.
The Orioles and Red Sox, at three and two percent respectively, complete the voting process.
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