After two years of restrictions on their international free agent signings, the Yankees returned to the July 2, 2017 opening of the international free agent market with an aggressive showing. The team signed signed 5 of the top 30 prospects in the class. That group was highlighted by Venezuelan center fielder Everson Pereira. Still just 20 years old in 2021, Pereira has already jumped several levels and is putting up big offensive numbers in what could be his breakout season.
Upon joining the Yankees organization, Pereira quickly stood out from the crowd during his time at the team’s Dominican academy and in extended spring training. It was reported that Pereira hit eight home runs in extended spring as a 17-year-old in 2018 and was one of the best players on the field whenever he played. Eight home runs during an unspecified number of games and at-bats during exhibition play is a hard stat to put into context, but the team was obviously impressed with it to release it at the time.
While most of Pereira’s peers started their career in the Dominican Summer League, or the domestic complex league, Pereira was one of just three 17-year-olds to skip those leagues and begin in the Rookie-Advanced Appalachian League in 2018. The other two? Highly-touted Rays rookie Wander Franco, and the 2017 IFA class’s top pitching arm, Eric Pardinho, who signed with Toronto and is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Pereira was adequate, but did not stand out in an advanced league during his debut campaign, hitting .263/.322/.389 while facing tougher opposition than the average 17-year-old was at the time. The following season, the Yankees continued to be aggressive with Pereira, assigning him to Short-Season A Staten Island in another bump of the ladder.
In 18 games, Pereira struggled to get anything going at the plate, hitting just .171/.216/.257 with 26 strikeouts in 74 plate appearances to start the year. Before he had the chance to turn his season around, Pereira badly sprained his ankle as he made a play on a ball in center, ending his season in early July without much time to show any improvement.
During Pereira’s time playing in Pulaski and Staten Island, more well-regarded international free agent prospects such as Jasson Dominguez and Kevin Alcantara entered the Yankees organization, taking a lot of the hype that was once reserved for Pereira. It was widely assumed that Pereria would start 2021 with Low-A Tampa, but he was not on their roster when the season opened in early May.
Everson Pereira 3 RBI TRIPLE on a line shot to RCF off the 400 sign pic.twitter.com/mC6p29Lr3P— Florida Prospects Report (@league_fl) July 8, 2021
Pereira was initially assigned to extended spring training, where he played in a very controlled environment before the start of the Florida Complex League. He was part of a crowded outfield alongside numerous ranked prospects such as Alcantara (since traded to the Cubs) and Dominguez before earning a promotion a to Low-A Tampa. In those three FCL games, Pereira slugged an impressive 1.000, making him a clear choice to earn the first promotion from a team that often replaced their entire outfield halfway through the game to manage playing time.
Upon his arrival in Tampa, Pereira continued to make an offensive impact, slashing .361/.446/.667 with 5 home runs in just 19 games. With that type of production, Pereira again earned a quick promotion, this time to High-A Hudson Valley. The next level has not slowed Pereira down, as he is again hitting well with four home runs in his first eight games:
Bada Boom! Everson Pereira launches this one to dead center! pic.twitter.com/mjl0kgXXnJ— HV Renegades (@HVRenegades) August 13, 2021
After being aggressive with Pereira during his first two years in the system, the Yankees held back on his assignments in 2021. The center fielder who possesses all of the tools that made him one of the top prospects in the 2017 international free agent class now appears to be on his way to having a breakout season.
While Pereira has been on the Yankees prospect list since his 2017 singing, he is only a few weeks older than the fastest-rising prospect in the Yankees system, current teammate Anthony Volpe. Pereira’s ability, skill, and production are part of a breakout season that could see him once again land among the most highly-regarded Yankees prospects.