Yankees ‘excited’ by shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza



SARASOTA, Fla. — Oswald Peraza doesn’t turn 21 until June and is the youngest player at Yankees camp.

As Aaron Boone said Tuesday, the shortstop is “a ways away” from the majors, but the manager called the 2016 signee “a good-looking player on both sides of the ball [with a] very bright future.”

For now, Gleyber Torres is the starting shortstop, but the Yankees have admitted that’s not his ideal position.

And Pereza, who made his spring debut in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium, could get there eventually.

Listed at 6-foot, 175 pounds, Peraza has shown an ability to hit the ball hard consistently and is smooth at shortstop.

“He’s a guy, from a future standpoint, we’re about as excited as you could be,’’ Boone said of Peraza, who went hitless in two at-bats after replacing Torres at short. “He looks like a guy who’s gonna be an everyday shortstop in this league.”

Boone pointed to Peraza’s “swing, athleticism and his hands in the field” as features that set him apart.

Oswald Peraza has the Yankees excited about his future.
Oswald Peraza has the Yankees excited about his future.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The Yankees signed Peraza out of Venezuela for just $175,000, and he spent 2019 in Single-A. He was put on the 40-man roster and could start the season at Low-A Tampa.

“He’s acquitted himself well,’’ Boone said. “He carries himself really well.”

If Aaron Hicks can stay healthy, Boone said he envisioned him as the team’s No. 3 hitter to take advantage of his switch-hitting abilities, ability to get on base and to avoid hitting the ball on the ground.

But that is dependent on Hicks avoiding the injuries that have plagued him for much of his career. Despite Hicks now being 31, Boone said there’s reason to believe he can stay healthy.

“I hope … being able to train [this offseason] instead of rehabbing pays dividends for him,” Boone said.

Chad Green was originally on the travel squad, but the Yankees opted to keep him back to throw live batting practice at the minor league complex as part of a strategy to monitor their veteran relievers’ workload coming off a shortened season.

“We’ll try to be a little wise and slow-play our high-leverage relievers, as far as game action,’’ Boone said. “Try to be mindful of all the things we talked about starting pitchers and innings coming off last season, we want to be mindful of that with relievers, as well.”

Boone said he wants to keep them in more of a controlled environment during the spring; Aroldis Chapman and Darren O’Day also threw live BP at the complex. Last year’s first-round pick, catcher Austin Wells, walked and struck out against Chapman.

Bronx native Andrew Velazquez also crushed a home run off the batter’s eye against prospect Luis Gil.

Aaron Judge doubled into the gap Tuesday and is slated to play Wednesday, his first set of games on back-to-back days. … Outfield prospect Estevan Florial still isn’t in camp with a visa issue. Boone said the team hoped to know more soon.

— Additional reporting by Greg Joyce in Tampa


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