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Yankees prospect Everson Pereira is making his big-league case, Bronx or not

The powerful outfield prospect made his debut in Triple-A with a home run, but remains a potential trade piece ahead of the deadline.

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MLB: FEB 26 Spring Training - Yankees at Blue Jays Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Outfielder Everson Pereira has been with the Yankees for a while. He signed for them in the July international free agent period (it’s now in January) of 2017, yet he is still 22. The team has been patient with him, and he has developed slowly (mostly because of injuries), but steadily.

He has now mastered Double-A. That process started last year, when he hit .283/.341/.504 in 123 plate appearances (128 wRC+), and continued this season with his .291/.362/.545 line and 143 wRC+ in 185 trips to the plate before going to the injured list in late May with was described by Mike Ashmore as a lower body injury.

He is back now, though, and has been rewarded by the Yankees with a promotion to Triple-A Scranton. What did he do on his first game as a RailRider? He hit a 11.4-mph, 426-foot home run.

Now that Pereira is officially in the last stop before the majors, he enters a crucial moment in his playing career. One of two things will happen: either he will stay in Triple-A for a few weeks, continue his development and perhaps earn a call-up to the Bronx at some point in September, or he will be used as trade bait to lure a quality player to New York before the deadline.

There are definitely strikeout concerns in his offensive profile: his K% has ranged from 26.8 to 30.1 percent since he was in High-A in 2021. However, he also boasts serious power.

Pereira’s BABIPs are usually in the high-.300s because he hits the ball extremely hard, and he usually posts decent batting averages as a result. He also hits lots of homers: he has 16 of them since landing on the Somerset Patriots last year, in 313 plate appearances. In 2021, he accumulated 20 long balls in just 49 games between the Complex League, Class-A and High-A.

Per Baseball America’s preseason report (subscription required), his raw power has been tabbed as high as a 70 in the 20-80 scale by some scouts. Between the strikeouts and some groundball tendencies, he didn’t always tap into his power, but according to BA, the Yankees “tweaked Pereira’s bat path to make his swing more flyball-oriented.”

In an interview with The Athletic (also behind a paywall), Yankees minor league hitting coordinator Joe Migliaccio said he was impressed with Pereira’s bat speed. “It’s some of the fastest hand speed and some of the fastest bat speed I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” he stated. “When that guy hits BP, regardless of the other players in the group or whether it’s our top prospects, talking with scouts that are there in attendance, it almost seems like everything stops when he hits BP. It’s just different.”

The challenge, for Pereira, would be translating that batting practice prowess to in-game situations at the highest levels. He is off to a fast start at Triple-A, but he will be tested there for weeks, even months, to see if he can make adjustments and consistently succeed against pitchers with more advanced command and better stuff.

Pereira chases lots of balls out of the zone and swings and misses frequently, so he might not be a star at the MLB level. The tools for being an everyday player with a chance to hit 25-30 dingers per year are there though, even if it comes with an average in the .250s rather than in the .300s.

Defensively, he can cover center and that is a plus for the Yankees and potential teams coveting him. Now, the question is: will he be able to start his MLB career with the Yankees or will he be playing for a different organization after August 1st? Teams love potential starters with a full service time clock, and Pereira fits the bill.

The Yankees’ decision to move him to Triple-A can be explained by their desire to test him against stiffer competition, but also to show rival executives that he is, indeed, close to being major-league ready. He could be a future Yankees regular as soon as 2024, but there is also the chance the Yanks maximize his value by bringing in a more established contributor to the MLB team. It would be part of the business, and it will be fascinating to see what the organization decides to do with him.