Pereira, the organization’s third ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline -- and the No. 80 prospect in all of baseball -- started in left field for the Yankees in their series opener against the Washington Nationals. While the Yankees lost their ninth straight game Tuesday, the team was happy with their young outfielder’s debut.
“Pereira looked pretty good [at the plate],” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game. “He laid off some tough pitches too, which was good to see especially in his first at-bat. Took a borderline strike and laid off some tough pitches with two strikes and was able to work a walk, and he hit the ball pretty hard in his last at-bat.”
“But he looked fairly comfortable and got some pretty good swings off. I thought he looked good and under control.”
The Venezuela native wasn’t able to pick up his first career hit on Tuesday night, finishing 0-for-3 with a walk, but it’s only a matter of time until he does.
The 22-year-old dominated pitching in both Double-A and Triple-A this summer. He had a slash line of .300/.373/.548 (91-for-303) with 53 runs in 81 combined games for Somerset and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Those numbers were a reason why the team wasn’t aggressively looking for another outfielder at the trade deadline; they knew they had Pereira waiting in the wings and his promotion was inevitable this season.
But now that he’s here, Pereira is looking to show the Yankees brass that he’s major-league ready and earn a spot for next season.
Before the game, Pereira was asked about what fans can expect out of him and he highlighted his willingness to do anything to win.
“I think they can expect to see a player that wants to win every day,” he said through the team’s interpreter. “Regardless of what I need to do, how do I do that, just by giving them my 100 percent. It could be running the bases, it could be making a catch, it could be hitting the ball in play. That’s what I like to do and I think that’s what the fans can expect out of me.”
That work ethic showed up on Tuesday when he picked up his first walk and outfield assist -- with an assist to Anthony Volpe. Boone believes that Pereira’s ability to play all three outfield positions will work for the prospect and the team.
“Solid, good athlete,” Boone said when he described Pereira’s defense. “When you’re capable of playing all three that speaks to some athleticism. He’s got some arm strength so his arm will play in the corners too. I thought he moved around well tonight.”
After his debut, Pereira couldn’t pinpoint one particular moment that stood out for him when he was asked but was still in the moment.
“I’m still feeling it right now,” Pereira said. “Literally feeling like I’m living in a dream in this moment.”