The Yankees farm system is chock-full of talent up and down, headlined by top prospect Anthony Volpe. You have elite defensive talents like Oswald Peraza, freak athletes like Jasson Dominguez, and newcomers like Spencer Jones, who enrichen what should be a bright future for the Yankees.
Despite a weird start to his season, Everson Pereira showed off his remarkable talent in his 2022 campaign. The combination of speed and power makes for an incredible athlete who could set his sights on making the Triple-A team out of Spring Training. Pereira is closer to reaching the Bronx than people may initially believe, and this could be the year we see him finally reach the grand stage in New York.
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Having Some of the Best Power in the Farm System
When we’re talking about power, Everson Pereira doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his raw power and game power, which have translated excellently since the start of the 2021 season. Despite being 20-21 during those seasons, he’s displayed skills that should make him a household name in the system but have been overlooked by most people covering the team. It’s easy to get overshadowed when you’re a centerfielder in the Yankees’ system not named Jasson Dominguez, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t appreciate Pereira’s production and talent.
- 2021-2022 (151 Games)
- 140 wRC+
- 27 2Bs
- 10 3Bs
- 34 HRs
With a whopping 71 XBHs in just 151 games across the last two seasons, Pereira’s shown that he’s able to absolutely mash the ball and do so with some speed as well, which we’ll get into in a bit. Focusing on the power here, a .253 ISO reflects really well on his power output in recent seasons. ISO (abbreviated for Isolated Power) is calculated by subtracting your Batting Average from your Slugging Percentage, so the equation in this example would be (.538 – .285 = .253). It’s an important metric to look at since SLG% can be inflated by a higher batting average, thus not reflecting true power production as much as ISO can.
We see that despite a “smaller” frame at roughly 6’0 tall, Pereira can really hammer the baseball, as last season, he posted a Max Exit Velocity of 110.7 MPH, which would’ve ranked in the 70th Percentile. He generates a lot of solid contact as well based on his xwOBAcon, which at first just seems like a silly metric that has the word “bacon” in it, but actually can give us insight as to the quality of contact Pereira induces. xwOBAcon evaluates only balls put in play by a batter and measures what the outcomes should have been based on the quality of contact.
With a .441 xwOBAcon, Everson Pereira’s quality of contact last season rivaled the likes of Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman. There’s even more upside for his quality of contact, as according to Baseball America he reached an Exit Velocity of 113 MPH in 2021, a ridiculous mark that would’ve ranked him in the 89th Percentile in 2022.
It could be argued that in terms of raw power, Everson Pereira has some of the best in the farm system. Only guys like Jasson Dominguez and Spencer Jones can reliably get to an exit velocity that high, so why isn’t it getting more buzz? With his power output, there should be some serious conversations to be had about his future with the team and if he can make it to the Big Leagues in 2023, especially with the question mark in LF. With the Yankees having a cavernous LF, it’s key that their next outfielder isn’t just a good bat but provides great athleticism as well, something Pereira definitely can bring to the table.
Providing Speed and Athleticism to the Outfield
There are a lot of words to describe Pereira’s build and skill set, but the one word you can always use is “dynamic”. Pereira’s got blistering speed and is an aggressive baserunner who also can flash the leather and show off some arm strength in the outfield. Pereira swiped 30 bags in those aforementioned 151 games at a 75% Success Rate which is right around league-average for stolen base rates. With great speed also means that Pereira displays strong range and can cover larger areas, such as LF in Yankee Stadium or his natural position in CF.
We obviously don’t have the same level of detailed information on a player’s defensive value or their routes in the outfield, but most scouts grade him out as an above-average defender in CF. Keith Law of The Athletic wrote that he believes Pereira could hold his own in CF defensively right now at the MLB level, so hopefully, as he spends time in Double-A and eventually Triple-A, he can look even better out there. His ability to play all 3 OF spots should also allow the Yankees to give Harrison Bader a fair shot at earning an extension, as you could always slide Pereira to LF.
With great speed and a strong arm, Pereira should be able to give the Yankees help defensively in the outfield if he gets the call to the Major League level. His athleticism and speed on the basepaths will also open up the offensive “playbook,” as the Yankees can utilize bigger bases to run more and do things like hit-and-run, swipe a base, or take an extra base on balls in play. The Yankees have been long due for a shift to a younger and faster team that can still put the ball in the seats at a high level, and Pereira is perfect for that mold.
He’s an excellent talent, but there are still questions he has to answer in this pivotal 2023 season for his development.
Trouble Staying on the Field
As mentioned previously, Everson Pereira only has 151 games played through the last two seasons, and in 2022 he had multiple issues with injuries. He missed some games in mid-July when he was first called up to Double-A and then spent sometime from July 31st to August 11th managing an unspecified injury before finally getting consistently healthy playing time and hitting his stride. He’d slug .592 with a 152 wRC+ and looked like he was going to finish the season strong and be a part of an eventual championship-winning Somerset Patriots squad in the postseason. He then suffered a knee injury that opened the door to Jasson Dominguez, who seemingly stole the show with an electric postseason.
Everson Pereira is by all accounts injury-prone, and that could be due to a string of misfortune or just being reckless due to his incredible athletic abilities, but he hasn’t shown he can stay consistently healthy. This definitely affected his Double-A results, which were still superb with a 128 wRC+ and .504 SLG%, but it leaves you curious as to how much better he could have been had he stayed healthy. Health is a huge issue with the Major League team already, so Pereria’s going to have to maintain a good bill of health because the team desperately needs it.
It would be misleading for me to say that Pereira hasn’t shown improvements in his durability however, as despite those injuries he played a career-high 102 games in 2022 when the maximum number of games played at High-A is 132 and Double-A is 138. Playing 73-77% of games played is a step forward and would’ve translated to 118-124 games at MLB. The next step is climbing towards playing 80-85% of possible games, as it’s clear Pereira is going to run into some fatigue issues during the grind of a 162-game season. When he plays, he’s great, and we need to see him on the field as much as possible.
With the health issues made apparent, let’s talk about what Pereira can do to not just rise through the Minor Leagues, but potentially debut in 2023 at the Major League level.
Can Everson Pereira Impact the Yankees at the MLB Level?
Everson Pereira’s biggest flaw is easily his strikeout and contact rates. While players can excel with high strikeout totals and lower contact rates (especially when they hit for power), there’s a line where it’s unacceptable. That’s not to say that Everson Pereira has reached that line, but he has to make sure the strikeouts don’t inflate more than where they’re at right now. He struck out 30.1% of the time at Double-A, though 15 of those 37 strikeouts came in the games he played between injuries in July. From August onward, his K% was 26.8% which isn’t good but will definitely suffice with his power output and high average.
He maintained a chase rate of 20.2% last season which is really encouraging, meaning that he’s not going to expand the zone much and should profile him for a solid OBP to go alongside really good power. It’s about rounding out his plate discipline and making sure he’s able to make enough contact to post those really high slugging numbers and hit for a solid average. He’s seemingly a guy who’s cracked the BABIP code, as he has a near .360 BABIP since 2021 and has a .357 BABIP in his 210 career games at the professional level.
A strong Spring Training to get him in consideration to play at the Triple-A level is a must as well, seeing that if he’s in Triple-A and on the 40-Man Roster already, he’d be a prime candidate to get called up. Making good swing decisions and continuing to hammer the ball is key, but we can come to expect that from the 21-year-old Venezuelan native nowadays. He would be one fantastic addition to this ball club if he’s able to take the strides the organization views him as capable of, he’d add to a lineup sorely in need of power and speed in the outfield.
He isn’t the prototypical slugger who gets beat by breaking balls, posting a ridiculous .607 wOBAcon against breaking pitches in 2022. As mentioned earlier with xwOBAcon, wOBAcon only evaluates balls put in play, but it reflects the actual outcomes and not what the outcome should have been. For context, Aaron Judge had a .602 wOBAcon last season, and Pereira chased at just 20.7% of breaking balls as well. He still has whiff issues against them, but again he’s always going to be more strikeout-prone than the average hitter. Another important factor here is his quality contact against high-velocity, something whiff-heavy hitters struggle with.
- .465 wOBAcon
- .418 xwOBA
- 79.1% Zone Swing%
- 6.9% Chase%
Pereira doesn’t expand the strike zone, staying patient against high velocity while also absolutely crushing the pitches he makes contact with. He also doesn’t let many fastballs in the zone go by him, but just like with breaking pitches he still whiffs a lot at 93+ MPH pitches. That being said, maintaining an 8-9% BB% and 26-27% K% should be just fine considering his BABIP skills and raw power, and if he can put it all together we’re talking about a sneaky candidate to get the call to the Bronx.
He’s entering his age 22 season, and with a spot on the 40-Man already secured he has a real shot to turn some heads at Spring Training this year. There’s a hole in LF as of the writing, and all it could take is a hot start in Triple-A and a Yankees team willing to be aggressive enough to trust their youth movement to get Everson Pereira to the big leagues. He’s got the power, he’s got the speed, he’s got the talent, but it’s all in his hands to take that next step and put himself on the fast track to MLB.
Don’t place expectations of superstar-caliber play from a prospect, but you can look at the tools a prospect possesses and piece together how they can be a contributor on a championship-contending team. Rookies shouldn’t be relied upon to save your season, but countless times in the postseason, we see that a youngster steps up and takes a team to the promised land. If the production is there, there’s no reason not to trust Pereira to don the iconic pinstripes in 2023.