Changes are coming to the pinstripes — and it’s just not some ugly sleeve advertisement.
The New York Yankees made some moves as they face the reality of their disappointing 2023 season. At 60-64, they’re in last place in the American League East and nine games behind the third and final wild-card position. Just 38 games remain in their regular season.
So, they made a trio of promotions meant to add some juice to the Bronx and look toward 2024. They shuttled prospects Everson Pereira, an outfielder, and Oswald Peraza, an infielder, to the major-league team, according to team sources. Outfielder Jasson Domínguez, nicknamed “The Martian,” will head to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, a team source said.
Peraza, 23, was ranked as the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect going into the season, according to The Athletic’s Keith Law. Many expected him to be the Yankees’ big-league starting shortstop on Opening Day, but top overall prospect Anthony Volpe beat him out for the job in a spring training competition that also included Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Peraza has played sparingly in the majors this season, getting 64 plate appearances. At Triple A, he’s hitting .268 with 14 homers, 36 RBI and a .846 OPS in 63 games. He’s a strong defender with pop.
Pereira, 22, is the No. 51 overall prospect in the game, according to Law’s midseason top 60 prospects update. Between Double-A Somerset and Triple A, he’s hit .300 with 18 homers, 64 RBI and a .921 OPS in 81 games.
“He’s an above-average defender in center field who can run and shows electric bat speed that produces pull power already, with 11 homers so far this year in 55 games after he hit 14 last year in nearly twice that playing time,” Law wrote in July. “He’s added some strength even since last year and can drive the ball the other way, although his home runs are nearly all to the pull side.”
Domínguez, 20, has long been one of the most-hyped prospects in the game. Law ranks him at No. 27 overall. The Yankees gave him a franchise-record $5.1-million signing bonus as a 16-year-old in 2019 out of the Dominican Republic. In Double A, he’s hit .254 with 15 home runs, 66 RBI and a .781 OPS in 109 games. “(He’s) still flashing plus power, running plus-plus, playing solid or better defense in center, and controlling the zone very well for his age,” Law wrote.
What this means for the rest of New York’s season
At this point, the Yankees know the score. Fangraphs gives them a 0.5 percent chance at making the playoffs. On Saturday, owner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone met to discuss the state of the team and its outlook, and they talked about which prospects should appear in the majors the rest of the way. Pereira and Peraza were obvious choices.
There’s also a chance that catching prospect Austin Wells, ranked No. 8 in the system, could be promoted on Sept. 1 when active rosters expand to 28 players from 26. Pereira and Peraza will play essentially every day as they learn the ropes in the big leagues. It’s a shocking spot the Yankees have found themselves in. The team was the odds-on favorite to win the AL East after reaching the AL Championship Series (and getting swept by the Astros) last year. Now? They’re scrambling. — Kuty
What it means for 2024
The Yankees are getting a head start on examining if both Peraza and Pereira should be on the 2024 Opening Day roster. For Pereira, there may be two openings in the outfield next season, with center fielder Harrison Bader a free agent this offseason. Pereira will likely slide into the left field spot for the rest of the season because it’s been a revolving door after general manager Cashman failed to properly address the position in the winter. If Pereira excels, he would obviously have a shot of winning one of the outfield positions for next season. Center field is Pereira’s natural position but the Yankees have almost evenly split his appearances in Double A and Triple A at all three spots, so there is some comfortability in the corners.
For Peraza, his 2024 outlook to be an everyday player is a bit murkier given the current openings. If the Yankees moved Gleyber Torres in the offseason, that would obviously give Peraza and Volpe an opportunity to be the team’s middle infield combination. If the Yankees decide DJ LeMahieu is no longer an everyday player, Peraza could split time with him at third base, as Josh Donaldson is expected to not return next season. But this opportunity in front of Peraza is the biggest one he’s had in the limited major-league time he’s had. — Kirschner
What it means for Domínguez
It’s not out of the question that Domínguez ends up with a chance in 2024 spring training to make the big-league roster. That’s how it worked out for Volpe, who played just 22 games at Triple A before earning the Yankees’ starting shortstop job. Domínguez earned his promotion on merit. Over his last 42 games, he’s hit .333 with five home runs, 29 RBI and a .895 OPS. He’s also stolen 19 bases. Domínguez has twice played in the MLB All-Star Futures Game. — Kuty
Projected lineup with Pereira, Peraza
Uncertainty remains around Anthony Rizzo’s availability for the rest of the season. If the Yankees officially shut Rizzo down, LeMahieu can play first base with Peraza taking over third base. It would be ideal for the Yankees to have Peraza also play second base and shortstop on the days Gleyber Torres or Volpe need an off day. But there’s clearly an opening for Peraza to play every day for the rest of the season, especially if Rizzo is ruled out.
With that said, here’s a look at what a potential lineup can look like with both Peraza and Pereira in the lineup:
Rortvedt/Higashioka C — Kirschner
(Photo: Cliff Welch / Icon Sportswire via AP Images)