Isiah Kiner-Falefa
Gregory Fisher | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have two potential franchise shortstops on their team. The problem is they don’t yet know who will start on Opening Day.

We’ve already discussed New York’s left field situation, which is slowly taking shape. Shortstop is a different conundrum. There is a pretty good idea of who should get the job. It’s just a matter if they will.

The good news for manager Aaron Boone is that he really only needs to pick between three players. Yes, Cabrera could technically be the Opening Day shortstop, but that won’t be his everyday role. Much like teammate DJ LeMahieu, he’ll play all around the field, perhaps even every day.

Let’s take a closer look at the competition and see who’s most likely to fill Derek Jeter’s enormous shoes.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Let’s start with the most polarizing man in the mix. IKF doesn’t hit and was either a strong or awful defensive shortstop last year, depending on if you trust Fangraphs or Statcast more. And yet, he’s drawn the most starts at shortstop in spring training despite batting just .091.

That said, it’s hard to envision Kiner-Falefa as the Opening Day shortstop. Boone has already discussed playing him at multiple positions, but it’s unlikely they’d keep him around in a Marwin Gonzalez-type role. Rather, it’s more likely the Yankees are trying to get Isiah Kiner-Falefa some at-bats and minorly up his trade value.

Oswald Peraza. This seems the most likely Opening Day scenario, at least at this point. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on his “Baseball Tonight” podcast that the starting shortstop’s job is Peraza’s to lose “unless something unforeseen happens,” but more on that later.

Peraza is the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect and has improved his hitting despite being considered a glove-first infielder. He hit .306 with an .832 OPS in a handful of MLB games last year. Peraza is only hitting .222 in spring training, but has also battled a leg injury. He returned to the lineup Thursday against the Red Sox, so he’s probably Bronx-bound at this point.

Anthony Volpe. We all know Volpe is the next great Yankees’ shortstop, even if he’s played second and third base this spring. The question is more about when the New Jersey native will make his long-anticipated Bronx debut. The 21-year-old Volpe has hit .353 with a 1.097 OPS in spring training and moves like a seasoned veteran both in the field and the batter’s box. Even Aaron Judge quietly endorsed the idea of Volpe being the Yankees’ Opening Day shortstop.

But unfortunately, baseball is still a business and Anthony Volpe will almost certainly begin the season in the minors. He only has 99 plate appearances at Triple-A and the Yankees will likely want to get him some more reps down on the farm. More importantly, they’ll follow the same playbook every team does with young prospects and delay his MLB debut to gain the extra year of service time.

That said, Anthony Volpe will absolutely be the Yankees’ everyday shortstop at some point this year. Fans will just have to wait a little bit longer.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.