With Everson Pereira in the majors, other Yankees prospects await their opportunity – Boston Herald


With rumors flying and the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate holed up in a Scranton hotel on an off day, RailRiders manager Shelley Duncan and hitting coach Trevor Amicone requested a meeting with Everson Pereira on Monday.

Those who follow the Yankees have been waiting for the team to call up the outfielder, who is the organization’s third-best prospect and the 80th-best in baseball, per MLB.com. So the coaches wanted to make sure Pereira could tune out the noise.

At least that’s what they told him at first.

“We just wanted to bring you in and make sure you weren’t getting distracted by all the social media rumors,” Amicone told the Daily News of the message relayed to Pereira. “Just wanted to make sure that you are able to stay in the present and be focused on what’s in front of you and be where your feet are. So we just wanted to sit down and be able to focus you on tomorrow’s starting pitcher.”

That’s when Duncan and Amicone pulled up video of Josiah Gray, the Nationals’ starting pitcher on Tuesday night in the Bronx. It took Pereira a second to realize that his dream had come true: he had earned his first major league promotion.

“A special moment right there,” Pereira said before his first game with the Yankees. “They were messing with me. They were playing like something bad was happening or something like that.”

The last-place, sub-.500 Yankees entered Tuesday’s series-opener against Washington in the midst of an eight-game losing streak and 9.5 games out of the final wild card spot. With time running out in 2023 and some already thinking about next year, the club added the 22-year-old Pereira and Oswald Peraza to their active roster on Tuesday.

Peraza, 23, has already had a few cups of major league coffee.

“Obviously, with us scuffling, felt like those two were deserving of an opportunity, deserving of a look,” said Aaron Boone, who added that Pereira and Peraza will play regularly. “And, hopefully, it’s something that can kind of spark us in the short-term, but also get a look at two guys we think could play an important role over our future, too.

“They’re gonna get real opportunity. So that’s an important part of this. But it also doesn’t change from what we’re trying to do tonight, and that’s win.”

To make room for the youngsters, the Yankees designated Greg Allen for assignment and placed Billy McKinney on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to Aug. 21) with a lingering left lower back spasm. Carlos Rodón (hamstring), Tuesday’s starter, also returned from the IL, while Greg Weissert returned to Triple-A on Monday.

Pereira, a Venezuelan native, has enjoyed a strong minor league season split between Double-A and Triple-A. In 81 total games, he’s hit .300/.373/.548 with 18 home runs, 64 RBI and 11 stolen bases. The right-handed swinger only spent 35 games at Triple-A, where he slashed .312/.386/.551 with eight homers and 33 RBI, but Amicone believes Pereira is ready because of his improved plate discipline, an observation Boone highlighted as well.

“His ability to swing at strikes and take balls has improved dramatically over the last three or four years,” said Amicone, who first got to know Pereira while checking in with him over the phone and on Zoom during the pandemic. “The things that we’ve seen over the last month is an improvement in his ability to swing at the right strikes and swing at the strikes that he can do damage on.”

Amicone noted that strikeouts come with Pereira’s hard-hitting approach, but he hopes to see those diminish as he adjusts to baseball’s highest level.

Pereira’s walk rate dropped from 10.3% to 8.2% after his promotion to Triple-A. His strikeout rate dropped from 29.2% to 27.8%.

While defense does not fall under Amicone’s purview, he added that Pereira “looks great” in the outfield. He’s played all three positions this season, but Pereira figures to get lots of time in left the rest of the way, which is where he played Tuesday while batting seventh.

“In my mindset, there’s really no difference between the different outfield positions,” Pereira said. “Of course, it’s a different trajectory, but the way I feel now, I feel comfortable in all three.”

When asked what Yankees fans can hope to see from him, Pereira added, “They can expect to see a player that wants to win every day, regardless of what I need to do on the field. How do I do that? Just by giving it my 100%.”

Of course, Pereira will need more than just skill and effort to succeed in The Show.

He’s still young and green, but Amicone believes Pereira is more than mature enough to handle the majors. The coach reached that conclusion a few weeks ago when Pereira’s parents made their first trip to the United States to see their son play.

“When you talk about some of these young, international prospects, I think that it’s really hard for the average fan to comprehend what they’ve been through to get to where they are,” Amicone said, speaking generally, when asked about Pereira’s makeup. “They’ve had to be adults long before they were actually adults. Some of the things that they get through — whether it’s in Venezuela or the Dominican Republic or anywhere else internationally — they’ve had to grow up a lot quicker than any of us have.

“Watching [Pereira] take care of [his parents] while they were in the United States for the first time was impressive. It makes you realize truly how much he and others that come from the international market have had to be mature for a long time.”

On Tuesday, Pereira’s parents, wife and two brothers will get to watch him play in his first major league game.

The quintet planned on attending, along with tens of thousands of Yankees fans who are hoping Pereira can add a jolt to the team.

“I’m sure it’s gonna be something that I’ve never felt in my life,” Pereira said of taking the field for the first time. “I know it’s gonna be a very unique experience, so looking I’m forward to it.”


While Tuesday marked Pereira’s debut, Peraza has already had a few stints in the majors. Two of those came this season after the infielder lost the Yankees’ shortstop battle to Anthony Volpe in spring training.

Still, Peraza has spent most of his time at Triple-A this season, where he’s hit .268/.357/.479 with 14 homers and 36 RBI in 63 games.

“I told him yesterday, when he was here packing up his things to go to New York, just how proud I am of him,” Amicone said. “This is not the 2023 that he envisioned for himself. He could have come [back to Triple-A] and been much more difficult to work with, and nobody would have blamed him. But that’s just not who Ozzie is.”

Peraza was batting eighth and playing third base against Washington — expect him to spend lots of time at the hot corner — on Tuesday. He had hit just .192 over 19 MLB games this year prior to his latest call-up.

Amicone said that Peraza has had “a chip on his shoulder” since the spring. When Peraza returned to the minors after his most recent demotion, he felt more motivated than ever.

“He wanted to work on things,” Amicone said. “He came down and said, ‘I know that I can do well here. But that’s not really what my goal is.’ He wanted to get himself to a point where he wanted to work on things that were going to make him a really good big league hitter, not just a really good at Triple-A.”

Some of those things involved working on Peraza’s load at the plate. Amicone emphasized getting Peraza in a consistent position to hit the ball hard over the infield.

“He’s in a really good spot right now with it,” the coach said. “I know that it’s going to be something that’s going to be his main priority up there in the cages.”


The Yankees also promoted Jasson Domínguez to Triple-A. The Martian, 20, has been scorching hot since July 1, slashing .333/.401/.494 with five homers and 29 RBI in 42 games.

Domínguez sent Amicone a photo of himself imitating the eyes emoji on Monday before word of his promotion had reached the coach.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Amicone said of the chance to work with the organization’s second-best prospect.

Boone, meanwhile, was asked if Domínguez could impact the Yankees in 2024 if he finished the season strong in Scranton and shines in spring training next year.

“We’ll see,” the manager said. “I mean, anything’s possible. That’s a long way from now in the baseball world, so you never know what’s going to happen between now and then. But he’s certainly now pushing to the upper levels of the minor leagues. And with his talent, he certainly is an interesting player.”

For what it’s worth, Amicone expects a smooth transition for Domínguez at Triple-A.

“It’s different for every guy what the adjustment is at every level,” Amicone said. “So I think the biggest thing is letting him get into it, letting him be himself, and seeing what that adjustment is. But who he is and the type of hitter that he’s built himself into is the type of hitter that does really well at this level.”


Austin Wells is another top prospect that could find himself in the Bronx before the season is over. Boone said that the catcher is “on the radar,” but the manager added that the farmhand is “not a finished product.”

Boone also said that Wells, 24, has made strides behind the plate, echoing sentiments shared by Yankees catching coordinator Tanner Swanson.

Amicone added that the lefty swinger didn’t show any signs of disappointment after he wasn’t called up with Pereira and Peraza. Instead, Wells spent Monday’s off day doing homework on the week’s upcoming pitchers.

“He’s in such a good place with the work that he’s doing and the mentality that he has right now,” Amicone said. “I think his expectations are to be a really good big league player, both offensively and defensively, for a long time. He’s focused. He’s done a really good job of focusing on right now.

“He’s not at all distracted by any of that.”

Wells had only played in 25 Triple-A games entering Tuesday. He was slashing .260/.351/.479 with four homers and 18 RBI.


Boone said there are other youngsters “knocking on the door,” but he didn’t want to name anyone other than Ron Marinaccio. The reliever has spent most of the last two seasons in the majors but it currently at Triple-A.

Amicone, meanwhile, mentioned two prospects who are not on the Yankees’ 40-man roster: outfielder Estevan Florial and catcher Carlos Narvaez.

“They have really been working hard all year to prepare themselves for when that opportunity comes to them,” Amicone said. “Those are two guys that have really impressed me.”


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