Surprise Yankees prospect appears on ESPN Top 100 list
By Adam Weinrib
Now this is what we’re talking about! Feed us the evidence that the New York Yankees farm system runs deeper than most armchair analysts seem to believe it does! We demand it! Feed it!
Thanks to some regression and some thinning out (to say the least) via recent trades, New York’s current prospect pool hasn’t taken a massive public step forward in 2021-22 despite the emergence of Anthony Volpe as one of the game’s biggest young names.
Though team brass saw breakouts from Volpe, Oswald Peraza and Ken Waldichuk (among other pitchers) last summer, deals for Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo thinned out the middle of the Yankees’ farm, ejecting a number of guys who would’ve needed 40-man roster protection this winter (that is, if the Rule 5 Draft had actually happened).
There’s still plenty to be proud of, though, even if analysts can’t seem to find a consensus on where to place the farm before the 2022 season begins and some questions get resolved.
That split can be seen player-by-player. Everyone has their personal favorite who they rate higher than any other source.
For The Athletic’s Keith Law, that’s right-hander Hayden Wesneski, who cracked his top 10 at No. 6. For MLB Pipeline and Baseball America, that’s 2021 first-rounder Trey Sweeney, who they believe will be a Volpe-like riser in the season to come.
And for ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, it’s power-packed outfielder Everson Pereira, who the Yankees narrowly avoided including in the Gallo deal — and will be thankful they did. Typically ranking between 10-15 on other sources’ team lists, McDaniel slotted him in at No. 69 on his overall top 100, the fourth-ranked Yankee on the list.
ESPN sees massive top 100 prospects rise for Yankees’ Everson Pereira
McDaniel’s assessment of the Yankees’ farm system should be exciting on multiple levels. His ranking of Volpe sixth acknowledges what we’ve heard in the mainstream: that the shortstop’s future value is only a tick below Bobby Witt Jr. and Adley Rutschman, and he could end up rather Bo Bichette-ish in the bigs.
He also ranks Peraza 25th, ahead of Dodgers catcher of the future Diego Cartaya, and slides Jasson Dominguez only down to 32nd, citing his slimmed-down frame and simplified swing entering 2022 as additional sources for optimism.
McDaniel’s placement of Pereira isn’t shocking based on his Single-A numbers in 2021 as a 20-year-old, but he is the first prospect expert to take such a leap.
Last season, the toolsy outfielder hit 20 bombs in just 188 at-bats across two levels, posting a .303 average and an obscene 1.084 OPS. Just two years older than Dominguez, his somewhat rapid rise (2021 was his first taste of full-season ball, too) should land him at Double-A at some point in 2022.
Count Law among the Pereira believers, for what it’s worth, too; eighth on the Yankees’ top 10 list a high point for him, too.
Entering 2021, most of the optimism surrounding the Yankees’ system came from a delusional belief in Dominguez’s immediate rise, a promising debut from Deivi Garcia, and the attempt to bury any Austin Wells defensive concerns by focusing on his bat.
Now? New York has three consensus top-50 prospects and a number of names who could cameo i the back half of a top 100 either in April or September — Luis Gil, Luis Medina, Trey Sweeney, Ken Waldichuk, Alexander Vargas, Roderick Arias, and now (officially) Pereira.
That’s more than “reason to believe.” That’s reason to be very, very excited.