Tuesday Discussion: Volpe and Peraza
June 13, 2023
This week we asked our writers:
Is it time for the Yankees to send down Anthony Volpe and bring up Oswald Peraza?
Here are their replies:
Mike Whiteman - Anthony Volpe is clearly struggling, but I'm OK sticking with him a bit more. He has shown in the past his ability to "catch up" to the level of play after a slow start. I don't think sending him down would be the worst thing in the world, but would wait a bit before taking that step.
At the same time, Oswald Peraza should be in the Majors - either playing for the Yankees or dealt for a comparable player who can help the team now. Obviously, he would need to change positions at least for the time being if he stays. I don't see that being a huge deal, as there is a recent example of the Yanks doing this successfully. In 2018, the Yankees promoted shortstop Gleyber Torres to the MLB, and he eventually settled in as the team's primary second baseman. Aside from a half season at shortstop due to a Didi Gregorius injury and an unsuccessful attempt to shift him permanently to short in 2020-2021, he has been a successful second baseman. Prior to making the original position switch, he played ten games at second in the minors in 2017, five in 2018. Peraza appeared in 14 games at second base between the Yankees and AAA in 2022, seven contests in 2023. He has appeared in seven games at third base in 2023. He's performed capably at both positions - errorless at the MLB level. So, he could be placed at either second or third bases. Gleyber Torres 26 years old and is having another good year at second. He stays unless the Yanks are given a really good offer for him from another team. Josh Donaldson is 37 years old, in the last year of his contract, and having a mixed bag of a season so far - 92 OPS+ albeit with good power while providing his solid defense. Donaldson still has some value, but is indeed standing in the way of really good young player. So, the next steps to me look like the Yankees need to move Donaldson either by trade (try to get a little bit of return from a contending team needing a third baseman) or if needed by release. The Yankees should then make Oswald Peraza their third baseman.
Lincoln Mitchell - I have been a fan of Anthony Volpe since he was in high school and badly want him to succeed. However, he is not hitting now and does not appear to be learning at the big league level. So, the short answer to this question, for me, is yes the Yankees should send Volpe down and bring Peraza up. My longer answer is that I am concerned by how badly the Yankees develop young players. Other than Aaron Judge, I cannot think of many impact players the Yankees have developed in recent years. Torres is an exception, but he was developed in the Cubs system. Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, Thairo Estrada were all highly touted prospect who never made it with the Yankees. I fear that will happen with Volpe as well. Sending Volpe down cannot mean giving up on him. However, the Yankees need a plan for how to work with Volpe and get him to become the player he can be. Otherwise, they will end up dumping him for a middle reliever and he will go on to be a solid player somewhere else.
Cary Greene - Right now Volpe is basically hunting home runs and doing little else. His hit tool on the 20-70 scale indicates he has a lot of work to do. I'm not opposed to sending him down in the least, so he can work more on hitting the ball where it's pitched instead of trying to pull everything. Right now, IKF or perhaps Peraza should get the at-bats, as Volpe has not earned the job permanently.
Patrick Gunn - It’s a difficult question, but I think you can give Volpe one more month. He is still young and is one great week away from breaking out. Granted, the Bombers should be willing to give Peraza a real chance to play in the bug leagues given his performance (maybe at third base?) and the poor play of the veterans around Volpe. Regardless, I think Volpe should get a little more time.
Paul Semendinger - I have been outspoken about this from the start.
The Yankees awarded Anthony Volpe the starting shortstop job out of Spring Training. The idea, presumably, was that he'd be the shortstop for the next many years. He is one of the organization's prized prospects. He is one of the players the fans have been told to believe in.
And maybe Anthony Volpe is, or will be, that good.
Or, maybe not.
Maybe Anthony Volpe is just the latest promise that the Yankees made who can't or won't live up to the hype. It is no secret that the Yankees do not have a great track record of developing their young talent.
One reason I believe the young players fail is that they aren't handled properly. The Yankees never seem to have a good plan for their young players. They shuttle some "future stars" up and down until they supposedly "prove" they don't belong (Estevan Florial). They bring up some players and then have them sit endlessly on the bench while inferior veteran players continually play (Oswald Peraza, 2022). They take some players and play them in positions they've never played before (Oswaldo Cabrera). Or, they award the starting job to a player who may or may not be ready (Anthony Volpe) and then, instead of allowing that player to ease into life as a big leaguer, they expect that player to be a star or an impact player from the start. That's what they did with Volpe. Within the first few weeks of Volpe's big league career, they made him the lead-off hitter. It made (and makes) no sense. Talk about rushing someone!
The fact that Volpe isn't hitting is no surprise. At the time when he needed to simply acclimate to the big leagues, they completely messed him up and expected far too much from him. I said this at the start. And I've been correct.
The other part of the equation is that when the Yankees gave the shortstop job to Volpe, they sent down Oswald Peraza. Peraza has done everything he was supposed to do in the minor leagues. Volpe hasn't in the Major Leagues. Peraza now deserves his chance to play regularly for the Yankees. Volpe needs to go back down and figure out what went wrong. Many great players have been sent down early in their careers and have made it back. If Volpe is the talented player the Yankees say he is, he will be back.
If not, we add him to the listed of hyped prospects who didn't pan out. I have long ago stopped believing the hype that comes from the Yankees. ("We know the players before didn't pan out, but this time, this time, trust us, THIS TIME, this player is for real.")
*** Tim Kabel - I think the Yankees should stay the course with Anthony Volpe. Initially, I stated that I wanted Oswald Peraza to be the starting shortstop but, they chose a Volpe. They need to keep him here and let him work through this. However, I would bring Peraza up and have him play either thir either third base or second base. Josh Donaldson has shown power since returning from the iamb, but nothing else. He has six hits all season. Gleyber Torres has been a greatly improved hitter but, his defensive lapses are problematic. I think if I had my choice, I would move Peraza the third, trade Donaldson for whatever I could get, and keep Torres at second.
Ethan Semendinger - If Anthony Volpe is really going to be the future star shortstop for the Yankees, why is Oswald Peraza still spending most of his reps in Triple-A at the position as well? If the Yankees wanted to instill confidence in Volpe to start, they would've done many things differently. They would've allowed him to stay in the bottom of the line-up for months, getting used to the big jump from his 22 games at the Triple-A level. They wouldn't have put the pressure on him to succeed immediately as a star out of the gate. Young players in New York need to be given patience and support. However, you can only be patient for so long with a player who has had a batting average above .230 for just 1 game this season...on April 1st...the second game of the year. Volpe is now batting .186 and has been under .200 on the year since May 27th.
I want Volpe to succeed. I'd love to see it happen and I'd love to see him come back with a new mindset, a new approach, and start to become the superstar many believe he can become. Right now, though, the Yankees need to give him a break from the big leagues.
To make it even more clear: Oswald Peraza is hitting .311 in Triple-A this year and has a .980 OPS. He has 10 home runs
Make the swap.
Andy Singer - Of course Oswald Peraza deserves a call-up to the Majors, but not at Anthony Volpe's expense. From the moment Volpe won the job (and make no mistake, Volpe earned the starting shortstop job head-to-head with Peraza and IKF in Spring Training), the Yankees were committing to all of the ups-and-downs that can be expected of a player as young as Volpe playing at the big league level with very little AAA experience.
I also want to note that the grass isn't always greener. Sure, Peraza is likely a superior defender to Volpe at shortstop, but as much as Peraza is hitting, take a closer look at the numbers. Peraza is swinging at almost everything, and while his strikeout rate is very good, his walk rate is atrocious. Swinging at such a high rate is not going to end well for Peraza in the big leagues, so I think he's in for a rude adjustment period just like Volpe has experienced.
The Yankees missed the boat. It is criminal that Peraza isn't getting more significant reps at positions other than shortstop down on the farm. Even if the Yankees are trying to promote Peraza in possible trades, I don't think any team is going to forget that he's a plus shortstop, nor do I think the Yankees will lose any trade leverage by playing him at positions other than shortstop. Peraza should be in the Majors contributing at a non-shortstop position, while spelling Volpe at shortstop when needed.
And that's where things stand. I think Volpe could use a couple of days off (3 or 4) to clear his head and get back to making better swing decisions, because that's his real problem. He's getting behind in counts, hunting fastballs in breaking ball counts, so his hips fly open and almost no one's hands could possibly adjust enough to make contact against the wicked breaking and off-speed stuff guys throw today. In a time far, far away, the Yankees gave Curtis Granderson and Aaron Hicks (before the contract extension) a few days off in the middle of the season to reset, and both came back with better mindsets and really hit. I think Volpe could use the same to get back to the guy we saw in the beginning of the season. I really don't think a stint at AAA will help Volpe at this stage.