The Yankees shortstop position has been in flux for over a year now. in September 2021This was announced by director Aaron Boone Jaliber Torres He will be moved to second base. With this new vacancy, many expected the Yankees to capture one of five shortstops at the top of last year’s free agent class: Carlos CorreaAnd the Corey SeegerAnd the Javier BaezAnd the Trevor’s story And the Marcus Semin.
However, as the holiday season begins, Reports have appeared that the club was not planning to focus its resources on the shortstop position. They had enough confidence in their young prospects Anthony Volpe And the Oswald Peraza They did not feel the need to enter into a long contract to fill this position. Instead, they traded for Isiah Keener Valevathe first player who had two years of relatively cheap console left.
All went roughly according to plan in 2022, as Kiner-Falefa continued to pitch below average but produced solid work overall with the glove. His hitting streak amounted to .261/.314/.327 to wRC+85, with all of those numbers fairly close to his career marks. He made a few defensive errors in the postseason, but saved defenses gave him a +10 in the regular season, tied for sixth among MLB shortstops of the year. The above-average Ultimate Zone and Outs rating was less enthusiastic but still had around the league average. He will be 28 years old in March.
One year later, the long-term plan seems to have not changed. There is another batch of excellent shortstops this year, with the Correa returning to the open market alongside Tria TurnerAnd the Xander Bogaerts And the Dansby Swanson. But recent reports Still indicates that the Yankees have enough confidence in their internal choices to devote their off-the-cuff efforts elsewhere. The question that must now be answered is exactly how strong this faith is. Is it time to hand over the keys to the kids or not?
One year prior, Peraza had only eight games of Triple-A experience under his belt. He was brought back to that level for the start of the 2022 season and eventually made 99 appearances. In that time, he has hit 19 home runs and stolen 33 bases. His hitting streak was .259/.329/.448 for a WRC+ of 106. He was promoted to the major leagues late in the season and got into 18 games there. He only went deep once but hit .306/.404/.429 in that minor sample for wRC+146. His batting average on balls while playing was .302 in the minors but he jumped to .359 in the majors, which means that These improved results seem unsustainable, but they are encouraging nonetheless. He will be 23 years old in June.
Volpe finished 2021 at High-A and started 2022 at Double-A. In 110 games there, he went deep 18 times and made 44 pass sacks, resulting in a .251/.348/.472 hitting streak for wRC+ of 122. He scrimmaged after upgrading to Triple-A, hitting just .236/.313 /404 for wRC+91, but in a small sample of only 22 games. He will be 22 years old in April.
A surprising entrant into the mix is Oswaldo Cabrera. As a prospect, he was not considered on the same level as Peraza and Volpe but he has moved forward in recent years. In 2021, he splits his time between Double-A and Triple-A, and hit 29 home runs and stole 21 bases. His combined hitting streak was .272/.330/.533 for a wRC+ of 130. He hit Triple-A well again in 2022 and was promoted to the major leagues. In 44 major league games, he hit .247/.312/.429 for a WRC+111 while clocking in all four outfield positions and corner court. He will be 24 years old in March.
With these youngsters in or near the majors, the Yankees likely won’t feel like they need Kiner-Falefa anymore. They just did Avoid arbitration with him by giving him a $6 million contract, but they can make a deal if they feel secure enough in other options. However, they can also keep IKF in should he have any growing pains with younger players, eventually pushing him into a utility role over time. Aside from Torres, the other hackers currently on the list are on the older side, such as Josh Donaldson He turns 37 next month Anthony Rizzo And the DJ Limahieu He will be 34 and 35 years old, respectively, during the next season. Whoever gets the starting shortstop job, the club will likely want to keep some depth on hand should any of these players suffer injuries or underperform, as they all did in 2022.
The position will likely be awarded on the basis of merit. Whoever plays better in the spring then the regular season will still get playing time. Others could be moved to utility/interchange bench roles, spend more time in the minors or end up being traded to another club. The plan seems likely to work, as they only need one of these options to take over. By not allocating a nine-figure contract to a short, they will be able to use their finances to try and keep Aaron Judge and/or follow other regulars as they look to repeat in the East Champions in 2023.
But who do you think will step forward as the daily shortstop in 2023? Cabrera has the most MLB experience at this point, but he comes in with lower prospect percentages and seems easily able to move to other positions. Peraza doesn’t seem to have much left to prove in the minors but he’s only played 18 MLB games. Volpe just made it to Triple-A but could explode onto the scene next year. Kiner-Falefa would still be around if no one else took the job. So, who will play the most games at shortstop for the Yankees in 2023? Have your say in the poll below.
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