Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2020: Oswald Peraza (SS, #4)
Today we continue our Yankees Top-30 Prospects Countdown for the 2020 season with SS Oswald Peraza.
Drafted out of Venezuela in 2016, Peraza has been one of the prospects that the Yankees have been most aggressive with moving through their system, jumping up to Class A ball as a 19 year-old last season. His quick moves through the rookie levels does show that he has great fundamentals as part of his game, and he did show his best hitting season in 2019 since he debut against competition he was able to destroy in his professional debut. Even with low power, his all-fields hitting approach, along with plus speed, and great defense help him have lead to some projections as a borderline all-star shortstop. It seems a bit early to me to be this high on him, as he seems to fit better in the low-single digits, but I hope he proves me wrong.
(Screenshot From Prospects Live Video, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbc9aT1GtwE)
Oswald Peraza, SS (#4):
Age/Date of Birth: 19 Years Old (06/15/2000)
2019 Team(s): Charleston RiverDogs (Class A)
2019 MiLB Statistics: .263/.332/.340 (0.672 OPS), 4 HR, 20 RBIs, 21 Walks, 37 Strikeouts (65 Games, 262 At-Bats)
Height/Weight: 6’0”/176 Pounds
Acquired: Signed by the Yankees during the 2016/17 International Signing Period
MLB ETA: 2022
Oswald Peraza Scouting Grades (20-80 Scale):
What to Know:
After the Yankees far exceeded their IFA limit during the 2014/15 signing period, that limited the Yankees to bonuses of less than $300,000 during the next two periods. During this time the Yankees were still able to find a lot of top talent, but would often have to go after more lottery picks than league-wide expected future stars. In 2016, this included two players we’ve previously mentioned in RHP Yoendrys Gomez (#8) and RHP Roansy Contreras (#19). Topping that list as a highlight piece was todays prospect, SS Oswald Peraza, who signed for $175,000 out of Venezuela at the beginning of the 2016/17 IFA signing period.
Peraza would make his professional debut in 2017 in the DSL, but after just 10 games where he hit to an OPS over 1.000 with a triple-slash of .361/.467/.556, he was quickly moved up to an American debut in the GCL (Rookie League). Just 17 years old, Peraza would finish out the season, playing 48 games towards a .266/.363/.332 triple-slash. Even though he was facing much older talent, he had a K% less than 20%, and while his power numbers were low, it was also not expected given expectations to put on strength in future seasons.
That next season, the Yankees continued to push Peraza as he was moved up to the Pulaski Yankees (Rookie Advanced). He only played in 36 games while missing 32, and I was unable to find any reason (injury, recovery, etc.) on why he played so few games that season. My best guess is that he had some minor ailment or injury which he and his coaches wanted to be careful with. If this is true, the dip in his numbers has some solid logic behind it, although even so they did dip very slightly from his showing in the GCL, ending the season with a .250/.333/.321 triple slash.
2019 would become Peraza’s best season to date as he made his first stints into Class A ball with both the Staten Island Yankees (Short Season) and Charleston RiverDogs. Playing 19 games in Staten Island, he hit to .241/.294/.354, and he saw his GO/AO rise pretty high to 1.55. Luckily, it seems that he figured out fixing this when he moved up to the Charleston RiverDogs for the final 46 games of the season. There he would produce his best numbers since his debut season, hitting to a .273/.348/.333 (0.681 OPS), while dropping his GO/AO to 1.08 at the level. Overall, this helped propel Peraza onto his first prospect list, ranking at #29 at the mid-season.
Going into the 2020 season, Peraza jumped incredibly high based off of his performance with the RiverDogs, ending up with the #4 ranking and falling just short of the MLB Top 100 prospects lists.
Overall, Oswald Peraza does feature great speed and defense tools around a good but weak bat at the plate, both now and what is expected in the future. Some think that his aggressive moves up levels have limited his power as he keeps adjusting to more developed pitching, but even so he tops out in projections at 15/20 HR power in his prime at the MLB level. Outside of the long ball, he does make solid contact, hitting the ball to all ends of the field while also being able to control the strike zone and be patient at the plate. He shows aggressiveness on the base-paths however, which helps him with stealing bases (23 SB in 2019) and taking the extra base, while also not giving free outs to the other team (7 CS in 2019). On defense, he looks to stay at shortstop, as his smooth actions, arm strength, and internal timing help him make all the routine plays and then some.
What Will the Future Hold?
The New York Yankees have yet to assign him to a specific level for the 2020 season, but I would expect if they are continuing to be aggressive with him that he could be moved up to the Tampa Tarpons and A Advanced. Most likely that would happen at the mid-season as the moves up the Class A levels tend to be bigger adjustments and more focused on smaller developmental tweaks, while rookie levels tend me to about fixing more the prominent, “on the surface” issues. A move to A Advanced would also help keep him near a 2022 MLB debut, as the following two seasons could be mainly focused in Double-A and Triple-A respectively, but it wouldn’t surprise me if another year is taken as they slow his development.
As a prospect, I personal think that Oswald Peraza is ranked far too high according to the MLB Pipeline. He is very much like Anthony Volpe (#9) and Alexander Vargas (#20) with where is currently is in his development and potential, and has seen one of the biggest jumps up a systems rankings that I have seen during this analysis. He is a very obvious candidate to fall a couple notches towards the high-single digits/low-teens as (or once) the season progresses. A move from #29 to #4 over the course of half a season seems very extreme considering his ceiling is as a borderline all-star with good defense, even at a demanding position like shortstop.