Yankees may be banking on outfield prospect to lock down left field

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

The New York Yankees find themselves in dire need of an outfielder who can wield an above-average bat in 2024. Whether that entails pursuing a superstar like Juan Soto, splurging on Cody Bellinger, or opting for a temporary solution like Kevin Kiermaier, the team urgently needs reinforcements.

Reliance on Giancarlo Stanton for defensive prowess is no longer viable, and banking on unproven prospects for a significant uptick in performance is a gamble unlikely to pay off. However, if the front office shies away from hefty expenditures in the free-agent market or is hesitant to barter prospects for established stars, they might turn to their emerging talents.

Everson Pereira: A Glimmer of Hope for the Yankees?

One such talent is Everson Pereira. The 22-year-old outfielder, who recently made his MLB debut, is still held in high regard by the team despite a rocky start. In his 27-game tenure, Pereira mustered a mere .151 average with a .233 OBP, a .194 slugging percentage, and 10 RBIs. He struck out at an alarming 38.8% rate, though he managed a 7.8% walk rate. While his defensive metrics were passable, his -0.5 WAR, predominantly attributable to his offensive struggles, highlighted his inefficiencies.

Yet, Pereira’s Triple-A track record tells a different story. Before his ascent to the majors, he boasted a .312 average with a .386 OBP and a .551 slugging percentage. His eight home runs, 33 RBIs, and 132 wRC+ across 35 games cannot be overlooked. However, his worrisome 27.8% strikeout rate echoed the struggles of Estevan Florial, another prospect whose overaggressiveness at the plate proved costly.

Navigating Pereira’s Aggressiveness

Pereira, known for his assertiveness early in counts, saw this trait backfire spectacularly, contributing to a 10% surge in his strikeout rate upon reaching the big leagues. This trend pinpointed a crucial area for improvement.

Despite these setbacks, Pereira possesses the raw ingredients for offensive success. His power is understated, and his ability to make solid contact often results in extra-base hits. His stabbing motion generates line drives, capitalizing on his athletic prowess and speed. Yet, he finds himself grappling with the sophisticated pitching seen in the majors, where unpredictable ball movements starkly contrast with the predictability of Triple-A.

Cost-Effective Strategies and Youthful Prospects

If frugality guides the Yankees’ off-season strategy, Pereira might emerge as a key figure for 2024, particularly as spring training provides a clearer picture of his capabilities. While it’s premature to draw conclusions from a 27-game stint, neglecting to fortify the outfield—even with a stopgap like Kiermaier—would be imprudent until Jasson Dominguez is back in full swing.

With budget constraints in mind, General Manager Brian Cashman might find pursuing luminaries like Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Soto unrealistic. Nonetheless, the Yankees’ strategy over the ensuing months will be pivotal, especially if they aim to revitalize their World Series aspirations.

Integrating young, resilient talents seems the most logical route, amalgamating them with seasoned prospects to balance expenditures across positions. In this scenario, Pereira could very well cement his place, at least as a reliable depth option, in a rejuvenated outfield.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: