Yesterday, George King wrote that the Yankees had expressed interest in Atlanta Braves' Triple-A second baseman, Jose Peraza. With the future of the Yankees' infield very much influx, it is not surprising that they are looking for young middle infielders. While Robert Refsnyder has moved quickly through the system and garnered a lot of attention, he continues to struggle defensively at second base. I find it hard to believe that the Yankees are writing off Refsnyder, as King and others have surmised, but there is no question that the future of the Yankees' infield is a major concern. Didi Gregorious, Gregorio Petit and Stephen Drew have provided the Yankees with very little offense this year, and while there is plenty of time for these guys to turn their seasons around, the Yankees need to do their due diligence.
Granted, the Braves have shown no interest in parting with one of their top prospects, but we all know how quickly things can change. So, just who is Jose Peraza? Or perhaps even more importantly, who are the Yankees willing to part with for this young prospect? Let's see what we can find out.
Scouting Report: Baseball America has Peraza ranked 54th in their Top 100 Prospects list, right behind Yankee outfield prospect, Aaron Judge. MLB.com has Peraza ranked 39th overall and second for second base prospects. Both rank Peraza as the top prospect in Atlanta's system.
Peraza is a natural shortstop, having been drafted and played there in his early days of professional baseball. Of course, the Braves have Andrelton Simmons at short for the foreseeable future, so Peraza moved over to second. A plus defender at short, Peraza looks as though he has been able to translate that over to his new position.
The 20-year old infielder has flown through the minor league system, splitting time between Double-A and High-A ball last year. He had a combined slash line of .339/.364/.441. He is primarily a ground ball hitter, who is unlikely to develop much power, but so long as he keep hitting like he has so far, the lack of power shouldn't be a concern. In addition to his bat, Peraza boasts some very impressive speed and he puts it to good use. In each of his two years of full season baseball, Peraza has stolen at least 60 bags.
Potential Trade Chips: So, if the Yankees are going to persuade Atlanta to part with their top prospect, a solid defensive middle infielder that they envision as their future lead off hitter, what prospects might they be willing to send? The Braves' farm system is not as strong as it has been, granted the Yankees system is not viewed as particularly strong itself. Atlanta is especially in need of left-handed pitching and outfielders, of which the Yankees do have a few interesting prospects.
As I mentioned earlier, BA has Judge and Peraza ranked right along side each other, but I can't imagine that would be sufficient to get a deal done here. Peraza is knocking on the door of the Majors, and while Judge appears to be on the fast track himself, he is a step behind. Lefties like Ian Clarkin and Jacob Lindgren could also prove intriguing to Atlanta. I would like to think the Yankees wouldn't part with Luis Severino, though Atlanta would have to inquire about the young hurler. King speculates that the Yankees would be willing to part with Gary Sanchez, citing their preference for John Ryan Murphy, but I'm suspect of this statement. What do you all think? Who would you be willing to give up to see Peraza play in the Bronx?