In a perfect world, the Yankees would’ve never promoted 22-year-old outfield prospect Everson Pereira in 2023. With the Bombers just floating just above .500 in the win column, they decided to cash in early and give some of their young talent opportunities at the MLB level.
Prospect Development Amidst Challenges
The fruits of a losing season usually look like prospects getting playing time, even if it means getting their feet wet and struggling. Pereira was one of several prospects the Yankees elevated, but they learned some valuable information about his weaknesses and what he needs to adjust heading into 2024.
“In a normal year, where we’ve got everyone healthy, these guys probably don’t make their debut yet,” Yankees hitting coordinator Joe Migliaccio told NJ Advance Media. “Pereira would’ve probably made his debut this year. Being able to have those at-bats under his belt — whether it was successful or not, depending on whoever’s opinion — is going to do him better justice than being in Triple-A for the whole year.”
Unfortunately, Pereira may not have a straight line to playing time this upcoming season since the Yankees acquired Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo, not to mention depth piece Trent Grisham.
Pereira’s MLB Experience and Adjustments Needed
Pereira played 27 games in the MLB last season, hitting .151/.233/.194, far different than his Triple-A numbers, where he hit .312/.386/.551 over 35 games. His strikeout rate ballooned 10% to 38.8%, and his wRC+ dropped to 23, indicating he was 77% worse than the average MLB hitter.
However, that small sample size of experience will do wonders for his game, allowing him to refine any fundamental requirements and ultimately get the jitters out, having already made his MLB debut.
“Sometimes you need to get exposed before you can make that enhancement,” Migliaccio said. “Having that big-league playing time and experience is going to do so much for him going into this next year.”
Pereira’s Role and Future with the Yankees
Pereira seems more like a perfect trade piece than a future contributor in the Yankees’ outfield, given how much depth they have. It is possible they retain him in fear that Verdugo and Soto will walk in free agency next off-season, especially since Pereira is a solid defensive player and can play multiple alignments.
The expectation is that he will either fill a reserve role in the outfield or start his 2024 campaign in Triple-A, working on tweaking some of his fundamentals and hoping to reduce his strikeout significantly.
Pereira has a stabbing motion to swing and can oftentimes be a bit too aggressive, which puts him behind counts and takes leverage away. He will have to work on making better swing decisions and having cleaner contact despite a 54.7% hard-hit rate and 7.5% barrel rate. There’s no question he has plenty of power; Pereira just needs more experience against top pitching.