Everson Pereira Makes Better Swing Decisions
It was all weighing on outfielder Everson Pereira. The $1.5 million signing bonus. The middling production. An underwhelming spring training.
But where some 20-year-olds might retreat into self-pity, Pereira shook it off and entered extended spring training with renewed focus, according to Yankees minor league hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson.
It made all the difference, and it was a big reason the Yankees included Pereira in the group of five prospects the club added to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.
“It's not a stretch to think that Everson could be an everyday starter on a Yankees team that is winning titles,” Lawson said. “He made our decision easy for us with the season he put up and with the person that he is.”
Signed in 2017 out of Venezuela, Pereira clubbed 20 home runs in 49 games after hitting just five in 2018 and 2019 combined.
While the center fielder dominated at Low-A Tampa, hitting .361 with five bombs in 19 games, he really took off at High-A Hudson Valley. In 27 games with the Renegades, Pereira hit an incredible 14 homers, including a three-bomb game on Sept. 5.
In High-A East, Pereira's average exit velocity was 94 mph compared to the league average of 86. He topped out at an impressive 113. His strikeout rate was correspondingly high at nearly 28%.
The surge came after Pereira stumbled through spring training. He found a way to zero in on exactly what had been troubling him most: pitch selection and bat path.
“Well, he basically was talking about hitting 'bombas,' " Lawson said, referring to home runs. "He wanted to only swing if he thought he could hit for a home run, and then if he hit it for a double instead of a home run, that's fine.
"But it wasn't all or nothing. He wasn't forcing the issue. He was saying the pitch's location and the quality of it was most important. He knew if he put a good swing on it, good things would happen."