Sunday marks a breakout day for Yankees’ prospects, youngsters

Yankees rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe is swinging against the Rays in Tampa on Aug 27, 2023.

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TAMPA — Sunday was a momentous day for the Yankees youngsters. While the MLB team included four players below 24 years of age for the first time, another big-ticket prospect got a promotion. News emanating from the Yankees organization also hints a big changes allowing more youngsters in the team as early as September.

On Sunday, Everson Pereira was placed as the cleanup hitter. Anthony Volpe, who is also 22 years old, was selected to bat fifth and play shortstop. This decision followed an unusual break on Saturday for Volpe. Oswaldo Cabrera, who is 23 years old, was the seventh batter in the lineup and played in right field. Oswald Peraza, who is also 22 years old, batted eighth and took the position of third baseman.

Boone was excited and looking forward to seeing the youngsters making the most of this opportunity and succeeding.

The Yankees are currently in last place with a record below .500, and they are 10 games behind in the Wild Card race. Because of this situation, they are now looking ahead to the future. This was made even more evident by the lineup they used on Sunday.

The Yankees, who haven’t performed as well as expected, are now thinking about the year 2024. They plan to use the remainder of this season to assess and judge the younger players who are playing in the major leagues. According to Boone, this situation provides an excellent opportunity to gather more information and understand where these players still need to improve.

Everson Pereira gets the fourth slot

Even though he only played five games in the major leagues and had just two hits, Everson Pereira was put in the fourth batting position on Sunday. Before the Yankees’ series finale against the Rays, Aaron Boone made his belief known that the 22-year-old left fielder could potentially make a significant contribution with his hitting. Despite not achieving extensive positive outcomes and facing challenges in a few specific games, the Yankees manager commended Pereira for having some praiseworthy at-bats.

According to Boone, Pereira showed improvement in his at-bats when he faced Tyler Glasnow on Saturday. However, in his initial 18 plate appearances, he only managed to hit .111. Boone also pointed out that he appreciated how Pereira has been flexible in the left field position. Pereira had experience playing all three outfield positions in the minor leagues this year. Yet, in the major leagues, he hasn’t had the chance to play center field so far.

Everson Pereira walks in the second inning against the Nationals on Tuesday. Everson Pereira walks in the second inning against the Nationals on Tuesday.
Corey Sipkin / NY POST

Earlier in the series, Boone mentioned that Pereira had experience playing in all three outfield positions. Boone said that Pereira did well in all three positions and that he’s skilled and fit enough for any of them. He also mentioned that Pereira has a strong throwing arm. While Boone suggested that Pereira might be better suited for a corner outfield position in the future, he also mentioned that it wouldn’t be completely unfair to consider the possibility of him playing in center field too.

Where Pereira will play in the coming years might be influenced by the decisions the Yankees make regarding their other players. Other prospects like Spencer Jones and Jasson Domínguez are positioned in center field, and there’s also the consideration that Harrison Bader is approaching free agency.

Recently, outfield coach Luis Rojas spoke to the Daily News about Pereira’s potential to play center field. Rojas stated that he had observed Pereira playing center field during spring training games and that Pereira did a good job. Rojas also mentioned that center field is the position Pereira is most comfortable with. Rojas expressed confidence that, if there’s a need, Pereira can step in and play center field without any doubt.

High hopes on Anthony Volpe, Peraza

Volpe has been a part of the team since he won the starting shortstop position in spring training over Peraza. He has caught the Yankees’ attention by managing the typical highs and lows that rookies usually face. Boone has been pleased with Volpe’s defensive skills and his overall behavior on the field.

On Sunday, Volpe’s batting performance was a bit lower, with a .217 batting average, a .294 on-base percentage, and a .392 slugging percentage. Despite this, he has shown moments where his hitting has had a significant impact, hitting 17 home runs. His speed has also been an advantage for the Yankees, having successfully stolen 20 bases, even though there have been times when his performance in this area has not been consistent.

The three young stars of the New York Yankees -- Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Oswaldo Cabrera during a pre-game practice at Yankee Stadium on April 21, 2023.

Regarding Peraza, Boone responded with confidence when asked if the player’s future was as an infielder in the middle.  Peraza is naturally a shortstop, but he has been primarily playing at third base for the Yankees. He also has some experience at second base. This could become more important if the Yankees decide to move Gleyber Torres to a different position in the offseason. Since DJ LeMahieu is versatile and moves around different positions, Peraza might continue to play at third base.

However, it’s worth noting that Peraza could also be traded to another team at some point.

According to Boone, Peraza is a capable big-league shortstop. The Yankees manager highlighted Peraza’s defensive abilities, mentioning that he can effectively play various positions in the infield. However, Boone emphasized that Peraza’s primary strength lies in being a competent major league shortstop, which is his starting point. Boone also expressed his belief that Peraza has the potential to make a positive contribution, regardless of his defensive position in the infield.

Oswaldo Cabrera likely get a lifeline

Oswaldo Cabrera of the Yankees is celebrating after a home run against the Athletics on May 8, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.

On Sunday, he had only been up to bat 12 times in the past eight games, and he had started in three of those games since July 22. Last year, Cabrera brought a lot of excitement to the team, but this year he hasn’t performed as well as people had hoped. He has a batting average of .209, an on-base percentage of .270, and a slugging percentage of .306. All of these numbers are from his first 227 at-bats this season.

Just like the other young players, Boone wants to give Cabrera the chance to play more often in the last few weeks of the season.

According to the Yankees manager, he sees a long future ahead for him in the major leagues, especially because he can play different positions. Boone also acknowledged that the competition in the league was tough and that players needed to adjust. He mentioned that the player has faced challenges at this level, which is a common part of the experience. He believes that players who can learn from these challenges can have successful careers in the long run.

The Yankees manager also explained that progress in a player’s career isn’t always straightforward. He hopes that these experiences will be beneficial for the player not only in the short-term and next year but also for the rest of his major league career.

The Triple-A duo entices Yankees


Since the Yankees are already giving opportunities to several young players, Boone was questioned about the potential drawbacks of bringing up their top prospects, Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells, who are both currently playing at the Triple-A level, when the roster expands in September.

Boone explained that the potential downside is that it might not provide the best initial experience for the young players. He mentioned that the decision would involve player development and the front office, along with their input. The main consideration would be what would contribute to their growth and progress, whether it’s staying here and getting more playing time or something else.

Wells, who is 24 years old, has played in 30 Triple-A games so far. He has achieved a batting average of .263, an on-base percentage of .356, and a slugging percentage of .456. He has hit four home runs and driven in 18 runs, showing improvement in his skills as a catcher. Additionally, the Yankees are considering giving Wells some opportunities to play first base.

As for Jasson Dominguez, he has recently moved up to Triple-A. While it’s not certain, there’s a possibility he could join the New York Yankees at some point in the last month of the season. Dominguez, who is 20 years old, has played only six games in Triple-A before today. However, he has performed exceptionally well, getting 9 hits out of 20 at-bats, resulting in a batting average of .450. He has also driven in eight runs for the team.

Yankees prospect Jasson Dominguez is playing for the AAA RailRiders on Aug 27, 2023.

On Sunday, Boone answered “yeah” to whether he thinks Dominguez is almost ready to play in the major leagues.

Manager Aaron Boone stated that Dominguez has the potential to develop into a highly skilled player within the league. He emphasized his confidence in Dominguez’s abilities, stating that he saw the young player as possessing remarkable talent that could contribute significantly to the league. Boone pointed out that despite facing a slow start earlier in the year while playing in Double-A, Dominguez’s performance had notably improved in recent months.

Spencer Jones gets Triple-A promotions

Spencer Jones, who is considered the No. 1 prospect and stands at 6 feet 6 inches tall, plays as a center fielder. He was selected in the first round of the 2022 draft. He has been performing well with the High-A Hudson Valley Patriots, and now he’s advancing to play for the Double-A Somerset Patriots.

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

This Sunday, Jones joined the list of Yankees’ outfield prospects who have been promoted. At just 22 years old, he’s making the move up to Double-A Somerset in the organization.

According to Boone, the organization is highly enthusiastic about his upcoming journey. He mentioned that Jones has had a positive experience in his first full year. As he continues to progress, the hope is that he can wrap up the season on a strong note. Overall, it has been a year of achievements for him.

The Yankees had been planning to promote Jones for a while, and they started working on it last week. This was also around the same time when they decided to move up their other promising outfield prospects. According to the rankings made by MLB Pipeline, which lists the top 30 Yankees prospects, Jones holds the No.1 spot. Dominguez is ranked second, and Pereira comes in third.

During his time playing 100 games with Hudson Valley, he batted .268 as a left-handed hitter. He also hit 13 home runs, managed 56 runs batted in, pulled off 35 steals, and achieved a .787 OPS. In the last 10 games he played, Jones had a batting average of .341, hit a home run, and brought in five runs.

However, the journey for Jones is far from over. He’s about to face a tougher challenge as he goes up against stronger pitchers in the Eastern League. Boone expressed hope that Jones will continue to perform well as he moves up the ranks in the league.

The Yankees selected Jones as the 25th overall pick from Vanderbilt University in 2022. He embarked on his professional career last summer, recording a batting average of .344 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 25 games. His initial three games were with the rookie-level Florida Complex League Yankees, and the following 22 were with the Low-A Tampa Tarpons.

Due to his similar stature, Jones has drawn comparisons to Yankees captain Aaron Judge. He aspires to become a well-known name in the world of baseball as well. However, he wants to establish his identity and not be overshadowed by others.

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