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  • Cory Claus

Will Yankees' Oswald Peraza Be the Next Estevan Florial?

The Yankees need to look ahead to next season. So they (finally) promoted one of their best prospects, OF Everson Pereira. That’s good. They also reinstated Oswald Peraza, promising to give him regular playing time. He long ago conquered Triple-A with power and speed while playing a premium defensive position with premier defense. But he’s struggled mightily in the majors this season. That sounds familiar, but it doesn’t mean he’s destined to be their next Quadruple-A player.

Yankees prospects

The Yankees season is lost.

It was before they went on this nine-game losing streak, and it’s even more so now. All that’s left is to develop their young talent to try to turn the franchise around by next season.

That process finally went into effect as the team promoted exciting five-tool outfielder Everson Pereira. That also allowed the Yankees to push The Martian, Jasson Dominguez, and his big bat to Scranton.

Dominguez looks as close to a sure thing as a player can get without actually proving it, at least offensively. And it’s hard to imagine Pereira being a bust. Here’s his slash plus OPS for the last three seasons: 2021: .303/.398/.686/1.084; 2022: .277/.350/.469/.819; 2023: .300/.373/.548/.921.

Add in his elite defense and he seems likely to be anywhere from serviceable to excellent.

Welcome Back

The Yanks also brought back IF Oswald Peraza. This time, they’ve promised to make him an everyday player. Now Peraza needs to show whether he’s good enough to play in The Show or just another Quadruple-A player.

He’s certainly got the pedigree. Like Pereira, he’s conquered Triple-A with nothing left to prove. Last year was his first full year at Scranton, which he started at the age of 21. That season started rough for the youngster, hitting just .197/.290/.328 with a .618 OPS in April.

But by September, he had conquered the league. After his numbers had climbed fairly steadily during the year, Peraza hit .324/.410/.500 with an OPS of .910 in his last full month. His April and May held his overall numbers down, but he still finished the season hitting .259/.329/.448. Add in his 19 home runs and 16 doubles and you get a .778 OPS.

And a heck of a great-looking prospect. Especially when you consider he’s a defensive whiz around the diamond.

This year at 23, he’s been even better. His time in the minors is likely done, meaning he finished with a line of .268/.357/.479. He also cranked out 14 home runs, nine doubles, and two triples in the 63 games he played, leaving him an .836 OPS.

Again, though, that was at Scranton.

He hasn’t been nearly as good in the Bronx. In 20 games spent sporadically over the year, he’s hit just .161/.309/.179. That’s just bad. Especially when his OPS is a miniscule .487. Those numbers make Aaron Hicks look good.

Does this make you think of another highly talented defensive player with a great pedigree and nothing left to prove at Triple-A? Does his name rhyme with Mestevan Morial?

Yes, the Yankees have seen this show before and they didn’t like it. Estevan Florial was once so well thought of that he was the Yankees' top prospect a few years ago. He’s a great defensive player who’s spent 2023 dominating Triple-A as their best minor league player.

But he’s also proven to the Yankees and apparently every other team out there that he is not qualified to be an MLB player. Florial is the embodiment of a Quadruple-A player: able to dominate the minors but not good enough for the big leagues.

Which beggars the question, which is Oswald Peraza?

Yankees Fans Want to Know

I tend to think he’s a big-league player. One great sign of that is how he did last year in the Bronx. In his limited action of 18 games, Oswald hit .306/.404/.429 with a home run and three doubles. His OPS of .832 showed more than just promise.

And even though it was just 18 games, Florial never hit that well in that many games. Plus, Peraza’s strikeouts are a very acceptable 28% this season in The Show, much lower than Florial’s. Estevan has whiffed at a 35% clip this season at Scranton, about par for the course for him. But he was even worse in his 17-game tryout for the Yankees last year, striking out at a whopping rate of 42%.

So there are significant differences. But there are still questions about just how good Peraza will be. If he starts hitting like he did in the minors, his defense will make him a valuable player. If not, he’ll still likely end up a better utility player than Rob Refsnyder was or is.

The team needs to develop some good young talent. Volpe is already delivering, at least in terms of defense, power, and base-stealing. Pereira seems like the type to join him in this youth movement.

Peraza? I think he’s going to be on the team for a long time. At least long enough to see Austin Wells and Jasson Dominguez join him in the Bronx next season when the youth movement will be well on its way.

Whether that’s enough to turn the team around remains to be seen.


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