The Yankees shortstop position has been in a state of flux for over a year now. In September of 2021, manager Aaron Boone announced that Gleyber Torres would be moved over to second base. With that new vacancy, many expected the Yankees to acquire one of the five shortstops at the top of last year’s free agent class: Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, Trevor Story and Marcus Semien.
However, as the offseason got underway, reports emerged that the club wasn’t planning to focus its resources on the shortstop position. They had enough confidence in their young prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza they didn’t feel the need to hand out a lengthy contract to fill the position. Instead, they traded for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a glove-first player who had two years of relatively cheap control remaining.
Things went roughly according to plan in 2022, as Kiner-Falefa continued to hit at a below-average level but produced generally solid work with the glove. His .261/.314/.327 batting line amounted to a wRC+ of 85, with all those numbers fairly close to his career marks. He made some defensive miscues in the postseason, but Defensive Runs Saved gave him a +10 in the regular season, tied for sixth among MLB shortstops for the year. Ultimate Zone Rating and Outs Above Average were less enthused but still had him around league average. He’ll turn 28 in March.
One year later, it seems the long-term plan has not changed. There’s another crop of excellent shortstops this year, with Correa returning to the open market alongside Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson. But recent reporting still points to the Yankees having enough faith in their internal options to dedicate their offseason efforts elsewhere. The question that needs to be resolved now is exactly how strong that faith is. Is it time to hand the keys over to the kids or not?
One year ago, Peraza had just eight games of Triple-A experience under his belt. He was sent back to that level to start the 2022 season and eventually got into 99 games. In that time, he hit 19 home runs and stole 33 bases. His batting line was .259/.329/.448 for a wRC+ of 106. He was promoted to the majors late in the season and got into 18 games there. He only went deep once but hit at a .306/.404/.429 level in that small sample for a wRC+ of 146. His batting average on balls in play was .302 in the minors but jumped to .359 in the majors, meaning those improved results seem unsustainable, but it’s…