There are always winners and losers in the annual spring competition to make the Opening Day roster, and for Oswald Peraza this time he didn’t make the mark. The 23-year-old infielder will be reporting to Scranton for the start of the 2023 season, getting demoted to Triple-A after ending last year with a brief stint with the major league team.
Peraza entered camp in a clear competition for a starting role with the team, and had a big of a leg up on his main competitors. He had replaced Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop late in the year and made critical starts in the postseason, despite not getting much playing time after his initial callup, putting him in line to grab the job outright with a decent performance in spring. He also was a bit further along in terms of development when compared to the other elite infielder coming up through the Yankees’ system, the organization’s top prospect Anthony Volpe.
Things started out fine for Peraza, but early in spring he tweaked his leg running through first base and had to sit out a few games. He returned on March 9th and made it through the rest of camp without having to rest again, but it’s possible that the initial injury started the slide that he experienced at the plate — he holds a dismal .190/.306/.310 slash line overall, which wasn’t enough to convince the team that he was ready out of the gate.
Of course, his own performance wasn’t the only factor here. Volpe made it a true competition by going blazing hot in the box, slashing .314/.417/.647 to not only earn a serious spot in the discussion but outright dominate it. Factor in the remaining depth that the team already has in the infield with Oswaldo Cabrera and Gleyber Torres in the mix, and it became hard to justify a spot for both Volpe and Peraza. Once Volpe won out, Peraza’s short-term fate became apparent.
Peraza will have the starting time he needs to get back on track in Triple-A now, while Volpe will get his shot in the bigs. Should the latter falter after the first month or so the team could easily go back to Peraza’s sure glove and developing bat, but even if Volpe takes to the stage Peraza is far from blocked. The main concern is making sure that both prospects have as many opportunities to start games as they possibly can, and should Peraza turn things around he can make his case heard again.