The New York Yankees had some of their highest-ranked decision-makers speak with the media on Friday.
Aaron Boone, the manager, and Brian Cashman, the general manager, discussed several things about the 2022 season and what lies ahead for the team.
When talking specifically about the shortstop position, Boone praised Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Oswald Peraza, two candidates to start next year.
“Boone said that Kiner-Falefa ‘by and large was excellent’ defensively. Asked whether Peraza could be ready to be opening day SS next year, Boone said his cameo this season only helped himself moving forward and ‘he will be in that competition,’” the New York Post’s Greg Joyce tweeted.
Boone said that Kiner-Falefa “by and large was excellent” defensively.
Asked whether Peraza could be ready to be opening day SS next year, Boone said his cameo this season only helped himself moving forward and “he will be in that competition.”
— Greg Joyce (@GJoyce9) November 4, 2022
Kiner-Falefa Was Benched For Crucial Games
Kiner-Falefa had a series of costly errors in the regular season and the postseason, and that combined with his lousy offense got him benched in important games.
He had 10 Defensive Runs Saved, but -2 Outs Above Average so fielding metrics provide a mixed evaluation.
Peraza didn’t play much, but unlike Kiner-Falefa, he held his own with the bat in his short regular season cameo.
Between Triple-A and the majors, the young shortstop hit 20 home runs and stole 35 bases.
Considering how weak Kiner-Falefa is with the bat (85 wRC+, well below the league average of 100) and the fact that Peraza is a better fielder at the shortstop position, the latter should be given the chance to start in 2023.
IKF is better suited in a utility role: he can play catcher, third base, and shortstop, giving the Yankees flexibility and options late in games.
Both men, however, will likely compete for the gig next spring training unless the Yankees sign another shortstop.
That’s highly unlikely given that they need to bring back Aaron Judge.