Pereira’s call up uncommon, Boone hints at Yankees’ focus on 2024

New York Yankees' youngsters Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza at Yankee Stadium
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The Yankees are well aware that their 2023 season is not going in the desired direction. They promoted Everson Pereira to allow him to adjust to the grind of MLB while preparing for the next season rather than to rescue the Yankees slide.

“They’re gonna get a real opportunity,” manager Aaron Boone told. “That’s an important part of this. It also doesn’t change from what we’re trying to do tonight, and that’s win. There’s going to be a development component, with some of these guys getting real opportunities”

“Those are things that hopefully now, getting to the highest level and seeing guys that are really good at making adjustments, those are the types of little things that allow a player to go to the next level and separates the minor leaguers from major leaguers, everyday players to All-Star players, and so on. ”

The outcome of the New York Yankees’ remaining games won’t carry significant weight. With just 37 games remaining and a 10.5-game gap behind the Seattle Mariners for the third wild-card spot, the Yankees’ chances of reaching the playoffs are slim. While they aren’t officially eliminated, it’s clear that postseason play at Yankee Stadium is unlikely this year.

The Yankees are demonstrating a pragmatic approach to their playoff prospects. They called up outfielder Everson Pereira and infielder Oswald Peraza so that they would have significant playing time for the remainder of the season, even if their performance falters. This reflects a sensible strategy on the Yankees’ part. Their focus should be on evaluating these young talents, as both Pereira and Peraza could potentially secure spots on the Opening Day roster in 2024.

Boone hinted at Yankees plan

To expect these two prospects, Pereira and Peraza, to single-handedly spark a substantial resurgence in the midst of the Yankees’ downward spiral would be unfair and unrealistic. As the Yankees continue to plummet, as evident in their 2-1 loss to the Nationals, managing only two hits from Ben Rortvedt, extending their losing streak to nine games, it’s clear that the team’s well-established stars like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gerrit Cole haven’t been able to halt the decline, despite their hefty combined salaries exceeding a billion dollars. Thus, introducing Pereira and Peraza into the mix is unlikely to significantly alter the standings. However, the promotion holds its own value. By transitioning into evaluation mode, the Yankees can start gauging their assets for the upcoming seasons, beginning now.

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone watches batting practice before a spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Saturday, April 2, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Before Tuesday’s game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone indicated that Pereira and Peraza would be given a substantial chance to prove themselves. He emphasized the significance of this opportunity and the developmental aspect it brings. He also stressed that the team’s immediate goal remains focused on winning, even as they integrate these young players. The plan involves providing genuine chances for emerging talents to showcase their skills.

Boone mentioned that this is all part of Pereira’s development process. Given that he’s just 22 years old, there has been noticeable progress in this aspect. Over the past year, there have been significant improvements. The Yankees manager highlighted how these strides have translated into an impressive performance at both Double-A and Triple-A levels. Now, with the opportunity to compete at the highest level and face top-notch opponents who excel at adapting, mastering these finer points becomes crucial. It’s these subtle nuances that can propel a player to the next tier and differentiate minor-league talents from major-league regulars, even potentially transforming them into All-Stars. Boone pointed out that Pereira is displaying a multitude of positive attributes at such a young age.

As fans watch Pereira’s performance over the remainder of the season, they should anticipate that there might be challenging moments. But the value of the experience he gains could outweigh the temporary setbacks. This period offers the Yankees a chance to assess their potential options for the 2024 roster, particularly in positions like left and possibly center field due to Harrison Bader’s impending free agency. The focal point now lies in nurturing youth development for the rest of the current season.

Pereira’s much-awaited Yankees debut

In Pereira’s major league debut, the Yankees, unfortunately, couldn’t secure a victory. They suffered their ninth consecutive loss, falling 2-1 to the Washington Nationals, marking their lengthiest losing streak since 1982. Pereira, making his start in left field, concluded the game with an 0-for-3 performance at the plate, along with earning a walk during his initial plate appearance. He also showcased his defensive prowess by delivering his first outfield assist. Pereira thwarted Ildemaro Vargas’s attempt to stretch a 111 mph single down the left-field line into a double by firing the ball to cutoff man Anthony Volpe, who subsequently threw out Vargas at second.

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

Throughout the season, the Yankees have faced defensive challenges in left field. This is an area where Pereira, a well-trained outfielder, could swiftly bring about a positive impact, especially in comparison to players like Jake Bauers, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Oswaldo Cabrera, who, although not primarily outfielders have been placed there out of necessity. Pereira expressed confidence in his ability to handle all three outfield positions, with center field being his primary position during his development within the Yankees’ system.

The Yankees are particularly intrigued by Pereira’s potential at the plate. Out of the 96 balls he hit into play during his time in Triple-A, a substantial 44 registered speeds above 95 mph. His impressive hard-hit rate of 45.8 percent in Triple-A would position him as the team’s fifth-highest, trailing only Aaron Judge, Jake Bauers, Kyle Higashioka, and Giancarlo Stanton. Although hitting the ball hard doesn’t guarantee success, it generally makes it tougher for the defense to respond effectively. Notably, Pereira’s maximum exit velocity reached 114.5 mph during his tenure in Scranton, a figure surpassed solely by Judge and Stanton on the Yankees.

Earlier on the same day, Pereira was called into a meeting, where he received the impression from management that something negative had transpired. Ultimately, they revealed that it was a jest and informed him that he would be making his debut against the Washington Nationals later on. Pereira, joined by his parents, two brothers, and wife—who was present at the ballpark as part of their inaugural visit to the United States from Venezuela—acknowledged that his first appearance for the Yankees was an extraordinary experience, unlike anything he had ever encountered. In his MLB debut, the 22-year-old went 0-for-3 at the plate with one walk.

He conveyed that fans can look forward to witnessing a player who is driven to win every day. He emphasized his dedication to giving his all, whether it’s on the bases, in the field, or at the plate. This is the approach he intends to bring, and he believes that’s what fans can expect from him.

Will Pereira end the Yankees’ left-field problem?

He began his game as a left fielder, but Pereira expressed his comfort with playing in any outfield position. The expectation is that Pereira will predominantly occupy the left field position, addressing the Yankees’ long-standing need for a reliable presence in that area, similar to the role Brett Gardner played.

One notable drawback in Pereira’s current performance is his relatively high strikeout rate. During his time with Double-A Somerset in 2022, Pereira recorded a strikeout rate of 30.1 percent in his plate appearances. In 2023, this figure decreased to 29.2 percent in Double-A and 27.8 percent in Triple-A. Like many other young players, Pereira has displayed difficulties against off-speed and breaking pitches, yet there’s optimism that with more experience, this aspect of his game will improve.

Boone mentioned that possessing the capability to handle all three outfield positions often indicates a level of athleticism. He pointed out that Pereira’s arm strength is an asset that translates well to the corner outfield spots as well.

An opening for The Martian

jasson-dominguez-new-york-yankees

Pereira’s promotion to the major league team also created an opening in Triple-A for 20-year-old Jasson Dominguez. In a similar vein to what Volpe underwent last year, Dominguez now has the opportunity to make his mark at a higher level. Volpe’s limited time in Triple-A prior to an impressive showing in spring training served as a testament to this pathway.

Before his elevation to Triple-A, Dominguez appeared to be finding his stride with Somerset. Over his last 33 games, he displayed a 163 wRC+ and demonstrated improved decision-making at the plate. Notably, his chase percentage of 21.2 ranked in the 98th percentile among all Double-A hitters. This statistic becomes even more remarkable considering that Dominguez faced pitchers who were invariably older than him throughout the season.

With just one step separating him from the major leagues, it’s not implausible to envision Dominguez making his debut sometime in 2024, offering the Yankees a tantalizing prospect for the future.

Boone mentioned that the future holds a degree of uncertainty. He expressed that various outcomes could materialize. However, in the realm of baseball, the time span is substantial. The sport is known for its unpredictability over extended periods. The Yankees manager emphasized that the events that unfold between the present and the future moment are unpredictable. He highlighted that the player is currently making progress towards the higher echelons of the minor leagues. Considering his skill set, he is undeniably a player of interest.

As September call-ups are approaching next Friday, it’s improbable that Dominguez will join the team this season. The potential candidate for a call-up is catcher Austin Wells. However, the 20-year-old standout, affectionately referred to as “The Martian,” concluding the season with Scranton, offers a glimmer of positivity amid the Yankees’ current situation. As the team’s focus shifts towards the prospects of 2024, observing Dominguez’s performance remains one of the few uplifting aspects to look forward to in the Yankeeland landscape.

Yankees’ youthful team strategy

The Yankees’ decision to promote young talents aligns with the right strategy, even if its success isn’t guaranteed.

Throughout the past few seasons, there have been instances where the Yankees’ general manager, Brian Cashman, turned to prospects from the minor leagues in an attempt to breathe life into the struggling team during critical phases.

Oswald Peraza of the New York Yankees
milb

However, the recent call-up of Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza on Tuesday wasn’t explicitly executed with that particular intention. While Cashman may have envisioned a youthful infusion capable of sparking the type of “unbelievable” surge that manager Aaron Boone mentioned, aiming for a playoff berth, the move wasn’t solely driven by that motive. Despite the Yankees’ mathematical chances of making the playoffs still being intact, their approach involves integrating young talent as a strategic measure, even if it doesn’t yield immediate results.

Summoning Pereira and Peraza from Triple-A Scranton serves a purpose beyond an immediate turnaround for the struggling Yankees. It’s akin to an extended version of “Bronx Idol,” an opportunity for both players to audition for a spot on the 2024 roster. Their recent promotion elevates them to the major league stage in this audition process.

On paper, the Yankees possess the 21st-ranked farm system as per MLB Pipeline’s midseason assessments. Pereira holds the third position on the team’s list (ranked 80th overall in the majors), trailing behind Spencer Jones (78) and Jasson “The Martian” Dominguez (79). The question arises: Can these prospects effectively supplement the Yankees’ reconfiguration efforts following this turbulent season? Presently, the answer appears negative.

The Yankees are embracing the same dreams as Pereira and Peraza, hoping for a brighter future. This is the current stance for Cashman, who remained inactive during the trade deadline and now confronts the reality that his of $294 million payroll, the second highest in the league, is proving to be an ill-fated investment under Hal Steinbrenner’s ownership.

Pereira and Peraza won’t alter this trajectory. Nonetheless, prospects embody the potential for improvement, even if it isn’t always realized. The Yankees took a leap of faith in appointing Volpe as the starting shortstop for Opening Day, and he has persevered through a roller-coaster season characterized by notable highs and disheartening lows. While Volpe’s batting average stands at .217, his 17 home runs and 50 RBIs share the team lead with Torres.

At 22, Volpe is a work in progress, emblematic of the Yankees’ need for cost-effective, homegrown talents to complement stars like Judge, whose $360 million contract looms ahead. The team has recognized that banking on overpriced veterans is an increasingly unreliable blueprint for success in a sport that has been reshaped by the pitch clock and shift ban, favoring youth and athleticism – qualities that the Yankees must tap into from their farm system.

According to Boone, the Yankees are making a commitment to these players. Certainly, this is for the next season.

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