Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2021: Oswald Peraza (SS, #4)
Oswald Peraza has been an aggressively pushed Yankees prospect who is starting to grow into his frame. He’s started 2021 on an incredible hot streak with 5 HR’s over 12 games (matching his career total), of which is not entirely expected to be lost given his contact-first approach and batted-ball abilities. Combine it with plus speed and incredible defense and shortstop and you have a player who is just a few years and sustained MiLB success from being a true MLB player. I’m in on him fully and am excited to see him in the pinstripes soon.
OSWALD PERAZA, SS (#4):
Age/Date of Birth: 20 Years Old (06/15/2000)
Most Recent Team(s) (Level and Year): Charleston RiverDogs (Class-A, 2019), Staten Island Yankees (Short Season Class A, 2019)
Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019): .263/.332/.340 (1.116 OPS), 4 HR, 20 RBIs, 21 Walks, 37 Strikeouts (65 Games, 262 At-Bats)
Height/Weight: 6’0”/165 Pounds
Acquired: Signed by the Yankees as part of the 2016/17 International Free Agent Class in early July of 2016.
MLB ETA: 2023
OSWALD PERAZA SCOUTING GRADES (20-80 SCALE):
What to Know:
Coming out of Venezuela (where the Yankees have garner lots of top-end talent), Oswald Peraza was in that 2nd tier of international talent. While the Yankees were facing IFA spending restrictions, they were able to sign Peraza at a $175,000 bonus early in the IFA period. But, as these moves need time to verify and solidify, it would take until 2017 for Peraza to make his professional debut.
In 2017 the Yankees were incredibly aggressive with Peraza, moving him out of the Dominican Summer League (Foreign Rookie) after just 10 games. Though to be fair, he was hitting .361/.467/.556 and looked to be far ahead of his competition. This provided Peraza a state-side debut this same season as he played the majority of the year (48 games) with the Yankees West (Gulf Coast League, Rookie) where he showed a much more expected .266/.363/.332.
After a season at the lowest level of rookie ball, the Yankees again promoted Peraza, this time to the Pulaski Yankees (Appalachian League, Rookie) and this is where he would spend the entire season. He would hit okay (.250/.333/.321) though it was a little lower than he had shown the season before.
In 2019, the Yankees decided to send Peraza to the Staten Island Yankees (Short Season Class A, New York-Penn League) where he would play for about 1/3 of his season (19 games) before he was moved again to the Charleston RiverDogs (Class-A, South Atlantic League) for his final 46 games. Over the season in his first Single-A stints, Peraza would hit .263/.332/.340, again showing consistency at the plate but a lack of power.
Going into 2020, Peraza was unfortunately stuck in an odd spot where he wasn’t yet ready to be placed with the alternate site, nor did the Yankees run any camps. However, Pereaza would play in the Venezuelan Winter League with the Cardenales del Lara for 6 games. Though that was his extent of professional experience. Though, he was officially added to the 40-man roster in November of 2020.
So far in 2021, Peraza is back in Class-A ball, though this time with the Hudson Valley Renegades (Class-A+, High A East League), where he has started on an absolute tear. Through 12 games he’s already matched his career HR total (5) as Peraza is showing some power in his swing while hitting to a .340/.426/.702 triple-slash (1.128 OPS).
As a hitter, it’s clear that Peraza is starting to build into his frame as coming into the year his metrics had him listed at 6 feet tall yet only 165 pounds. With what I’m expecting to be an increase in muscle as he’s developing (keep in mind he’s only 20), this may boost his power rating from its current slightly-below average (45) to average (50). Outside of that, Peraza has a consistent contact approach and is able to control himself in the strike-zone. This helps him take advantage of the whole field, as well as his quick speed and baserunning IQ which had led to 44 stolen bases on 54 attempts in his career as well.
As a fielder is where Peraza truly shines. While the hitting tools are exciting to see them mature as of recently, Peraza is fully expected to be one of the games top shortstops if his bat can play even close to MLB level. He’s incredibly confident in his tools and does everything smoothly and accurately. There are no questions about his defense at any level.
What Will the Future Hold?
Oswald Peraza has yet to play with the same team over any two seasons, nor would I expect that to continue. He’s a prospect that only has upward trajectory and if he is able to continue his recent approach at the plate with hitting more balls in the air, Peraza should see sustained success across all levels of the minors. Currently at Hudson Valley (Class-A+), it would not come as a surprise to see him finish the season in Somerset (Class Double-A) before spending 2022 across Double and Triple-A before an MLB promotion in 2023.
With an MLB ETA of 2023, I think that’s incredibly reachable for Peraza. He has such little to complain and critique about in his game, of which the Yankees (and us) are now just waiting for him to show success at each level of the minors before they’re willing to move him up more. I’m fully in on Peraza and I think he’s going to be a solid MLB-type player along the lines of an Andrelton Simmons with occasional pop and outstanding defense.