Oswald Peraza: MLB Player
Yesterday, the Yankees announced that with the roster expansion to 28 players for September they have brought up top prospect Oswald Peraza.
The next great Yankees #24 infielder?
Road to the Majors:
Oswald Peraza began his journey to the major leagues 6 years ago as a 16-year-old. He signed on July 2nd, 2016 with the New York Yankees as an international free agent for a bonus of $175,000 during the 2016-2017 international free agent period. At the time, Baseball America would include him as the 5th Yankees prospect to talk about during their recap, stating,
"Venezuelan shortstop Oswald Peraza signed with the Yankees for $175,000 on July 2. Still 16, Peraza is athletic, projectable (6 feet, 165 pounds) with solid tools across the board. He’s a slightly above-average runner with the arm, actions and athleticism to play shortstop, along with a sound, line-drive stroke with gap power from the right side. Getting stronger will be important for Peraza to take the next step forward. He trained with Jose Montero." (Source)
As an international talent, Peraza was not listed in the Top-30 by the MLB Pipeline. However, it was clear very early on that Peraza was going to be special.
He would play his first professional games in the summer of 2017 (which it is normal for international free agents to take a year between signing and first playing) while with the Yankees team in the Dominican Summer League. Then, 10 games later (which is not normal) he was quickly pushed stateside to the Yankees West in the Gulf Coast League, where he would finish the year with a combined .282/.381/.368/.750 quadruple slash over 58 games...though, this was mostly held up by his .361/.467/.556/1.022 from the 10 games in the DSL.
The 2018 season would push Peraza up to the Pulaski Yankees. While still a part of "rookie" ball in the Appalachian League, it was another step up in level. Peraza did continue some average performance with a .250/.333/.321/.655 quadruple slash over 36 games. Why he only played in 36 of the teams 68 games is unknown to me.
However decent his 2018 was, the Yankees saw enough from Peraza to continue to push him on in 2019 in a season that emulated his 2017 campaign. He started with the short season Staten Island Yankees (Class A-) and stuck around for just 19 games before being promoted again up to the Charleston RiverDogs (Class A). At seasons end, Peraza played similarly at the two levels with a combined .263/.332/.340/.672 quadruple slash. Interestingly, his showed better performance over the 46 games in Class A ball.
It was that performance in Class A that finally got Peraza to be recognized as a serious prospect. As the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID, Peraza was without organized baseball for over a year, yet by seasons end he was the Yankees #4 prospect via the MLB Pipeline. Up until that season he was never featured on any prospect lists. Peraza would also join the Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League during the 2020-2021 winter, though he ultimately didn't play much for them (just 6 games).
With a newfound status as a legitimate prospect in the system, the 2021 season was when the Yankees really decided to challenge Peraza as they started him with the Hudson Valley Renegades (Class A+) for 28 games, 79 games with the Somerset Patriots (Double A), and at seasons end a quick stint with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple A). He handled the push extremely well, enough to the fact that he played his best baseball that he had at any point in his professional career. His slash line at season end over the 3 teams was .297/.356/.477/.834, which was impacted at each level by:
Hudson Valley - .306/.386/.532/.917
Somerset - .295/.348/.466/.815
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre - .286/.323/.393/.716
With this season under the belt, Peraza moved up to being the #3 prospect in the Yankees system and the #57 prospect in the MLB.
This season, Peraza had spent the whole year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre while hitting to a .259/.329/.448/.778 quadruple slash over 99 games. He started the season as the #60 prospect by MLB Pipeline and even after restructuring post-draft/deadline moved up to #53 at the time of his promotion up to the Major Leagues.
(In addition to sending Oswald Peraza up to the Major Leagues, the Yankees also made an additional move that sent another top shortstop prospect, Anthony Volpe, up to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders to- as it seems- take Peraza's place.)
This is the right move. The way that the current Yankees roster is constructed is boring. The team, when in a slump, lacks any energy. Then, enter Oswaldo Cabrera and the team was exciting again. The team had a guy who was going to put balls in play and not shoot only for home runs at the risk of striking out every other time to the plate.
If the team was continuing to win and set records, you can deal with sloppy play. When the team starts to fall apart and your "high average/balls in play" hitter has a quadruple-slash of just .261/.310/.315/.625 then you have problems. Never mind the fact that he constantly misplays the basic groundballs and has not looked clean in the field. Especially when the team is hell bent on running that player out there every day. And even more so when they have a hot young prospect who will improve the defense and provide some hope for the offense to adapt.
I am a huge Oswaldo Cabrera fan because he brought a ton of energy immediately to the team.
I am looking forward to being a huge Oswald Peraza fan now that he's going to bring that same level of young "hotshot" energy to the club.
Now, I am worried.
I am worried the Yankees aren't going to play him.
I am worried the Yankees will point and say, "We did what you wanted. We brought him up" and then have him sit on the bench and play garbage time.
What made Cabrera exciting was that he was immediately put out there to do what he is being paid to do: play baseball.
DO NOT HIDE PERAZA.
I hope I see him in the lineup tonight.