Oswald Peraza on his way to become Yankees’ opening-day shortstop

Oswald Pereza is at a Yankees spring training game at Steinbrenner Field,Tampa, Florida.

Table of Contents

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — When the Yankees called Oswald Peraza up from Triple-A on September 1, they weren’t sure how much he would be able to contribute to the team. However, only after seven weeks, the team put him on the ALCS roster as its starting shortstop for Game 2. Considering his spring training performance so far, the 22-year-old has a good chance to be the Yankees’ opening-day shortstop.

Even though the Yankees needed Oswald Peraza maybe more than they thought they would, his experience was just as valuable, especially this spring as he tries to win the starting shortstop job.

But what was more important than Peraza’s first experience in the major league was that he tried to soak up everything he could about how his new teammates worked before games.

“Just impressive how the guys prepare on a daily basis,” Oswald Peraza said on Tuesday night after ending the training game against the Rays 1-for-3 with a single. He also made the best of defensive chances at shortstop without any error.

Oswald Pereza
Twitter

“Looking at the veteran players, the little things they do on a daily basis, their preparation, just learning from those guys, Oswald Peraza told. “Even the days I wasn’t playing, just paying close attention to everything that was going on before the game, during the game, and after the game.”

In 18 regular-season games, Peraza started at both shortstop and second base and hit .306 with an OPS of .832.

He was left off the ALDS squad until being added to the ALCS roster, where he started one game in relief of the struggling Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

“I hope [it was] very [beneficial],” manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday in Orlando. “We certainly wanted him up around the situation, not knowing how much he would play.”

“The fact that when he did play, he had success, hopefully, is something that serves him well going into this year. I think he’s had a really good winter. He came in at a place physically where he should be, which is encouraging. But hopefully, all those experiences now serve you well as you continue to move forward in your career and your development.”

Oswald Peraza said he learned most from the other infielders on his team, but he also learned from Aaron Judge.

“I had the opportunity to sit and chat with him, ask him specific questions about his first years in the big leagues and the preparation and routine he had then to where he is now,” said Peraza, who could see time at second base this spring.

The Venezuelan hopes that his experience will help him now as he tries to pass Kiner-Falefa and keep Anthony Volpe from getting the starting shortstop job.

The competition is still in its early stages, with each of the three playing two games each through Tuesday (Volpe shifted to second base for one of them), but it remains the most exciting contest in camp.

“Once you go to the big leagues and experience that level of baseball, you definitely want to be playing at that level,” Oswald Peraza said. “And that’s my goal. My goal is to try to win this competition and establish myself as a shortstop in the big leagues.”

Oswald Peraza might do better under the new rules that are coming to MLB. Shifts can’t be used as much, which makes his range at shortstop even better. Oswald Peraza also stole 33 bases last year at Triple-A, where the bases were bigger and there were fewer pickoffs.

Still, Boone doesn’t favor anyone. While there is speculation over who will win the job for months, the manager said he didn’t go into camp with a favorite player in mind.

“I want what’s best for us,” Boone said. “So for me to try to predetermine that based on potentially my own bias — again, we get tied up in Opening Day all the time and it’s an ongoing thing all year.

“We want to be, ultimately, the best team we can be in 2023. I don’t want to go in with a preconceived, ‘This is what I want to happen.’ ”

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!