The Yankees might have a pivotal prospect trade piece to work with

mlb: detroit tigers at new york yankees, everson pereira
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a piece in their minor leagues that severely underperformed his metrics and could be valuable in the pitchers trade market.

Everson Pereira is the Yankees’ third-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and debuted in August right before Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells. His numbers on the surface look very bad in terms of production, he slashed .151/.233/ .194, which came out to a 23 wRC+ in 103 plate appearances, along with a strikeout percentage over 38% and a 43.3% whiff percentage. But when analyzing his 100 plate appearances, there is promise that can either be used by the organization or traded to bolster other areas of need.

Bad results, promising numbers

A 103 plate appearance sample isn’t something that should be taken completely seriously, especially for a 22-year-old player who has time to develop in the minor leagues, but in his time in the major leagues, Pereira did damage when he made contact.

From Pereira’s debut to the end of the regular season, there were 211 players that had over 100 plate appearances, out of those players, only 21 players had a Hard Hit percentage over 50%. Among those players, Pereira had the lowest wRC+ by a country mile, with the second lowest being Maikel Garcia, with over 40 points more than Pereira.

In that same sample, looking at the distribution of Average Exit Velocity against wRC+, Pereira severely underperformed his batted ball numbers in his limited stint in the big leagues. The only person on this list with a lower wRC+ than Pereira is Whit Merrifield, who had an average exit velocity almost six miles per hour less than Pereira.

A big reason why Pereira is at the bottom of the graph despite being one of the best hitters in this stretch in terms of exit velocity is his lack of contact, his 59% Contact percentage was dead last in the MLB from his debut to the end of the 2023 season. Pereira’s 21% swinging strike rate causes him to miss in-zone and out-of-zone pitches, with his aggressiveness in the zone being one of the highest in the league in his major league stint.

But despite this, Pereira’s batted ball metrics do point in the right direction in terms of quality of contact. His expected slugging percentage was 100 points higher than his actual slugging percentage, according to Statcast, and his expected batting average was also higher in the same span. Pereira’s strikeout percentage has been an issue in the minor leagues but has been well under 38% since his debut in the minor leagues in 2018.

Pereria may not fit the Yankees’ organization

The Yankees have a plethora of outfield talent, along with a history of contact problems that may mean Pereria will fit better with a different organization.

The Yankees aren’t short of talent at the outfielder position. At the major league level, Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, and Alex Verdugo are all surefire starters, and Trent Grisham will serve as the bench bat. As for depth, Oscar Gonzalez, Bubba Thompson, and Luis Gonzalez were all acquired off of waivers or signed with a spring training invite this offseason, meaning the Yankees have positioned themselves to be able to move an outfield prospect if they need to. This isn’t even mentioning Dominguez’s imminent return to the big leagues after Tommy John surgery and Jones when he finishes developing.

When looking at contact percentage, the Yankees were in the bottom 10 in the MLB in both zone contact percentage, outside contact percentage and strikeout percentage, along with the second-worst batting average as a team in the MLB. With a team that lacks a lot of contact hitters, along with the log jam in the outfield.

This isn’t to say Pereira can’t do well in the Bronx, with a new hitting coach that may help Pereira tap into his power, but an organization such as the Guardians, a team that ranked second in contact percentage in 2023, may value him more in a deal for pitching.

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Shortage of pitching

After missing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Yankees have checked in on a myriad of options as a fallback. Bringing back Jordan Montgomery is an option, but the Yankees would need to pay a premium after his most recent performance in the 2023 playoffs. The Yankees also have reported interest in Blake Snell, who’s name value is at its peak as the reigning NL Cy Young award winner.

The other option the Yankees have is in the trade market, which requires capital to be given up in prospects. With the state of the Yankees right now, it doesn’t seem likely they are willing to deal either Spencer Jones or Dominguez, considering they didn’t trade either for Juan Soto in December. Pereira may be a key piece in a deal for a pitcher such as Shane Bieber, Jesus Luzardo, Corbin Burnes, or Dylan Cease, all players that are reportedly on the trade block and could use a player like Pereira. This isn’t to say that Pereira is the end all be all of these deals, but a trade for Bieber could be straight up for Pereira if the Yankees want to take that route.