When you look at the outfielders for the Staten Island Yankees, Everson Pereira and Jake Sanford are two names that are well-known in Yankees’ prospect circles. However, in limited playing time, Evan Alexander is still finding a way to make an impact towards the top of the lineup.
In the 10 games that Alexander has played this year, the 21-year-old left-handed hitter has a slash line of .259/.429/.333 with a triple, a pair of RBIs, and eight walks. While he hasn’t had the chance to play much, manager David Adams mentioned him as a player that comes to play and makes an impact with the chances he gets:
“Evan’s been doing a heck of a job. Unfortunately, his name hasn’t been called as much as the other guys. When his name’s been called, he’s answered the bell. He continues to put together good at-bats and play solid defense,” said Adams.
One of the keys for Alexander, according to hitting coach Ken Joyce, is to avoid what both of them call “panic mode” and not try to force the situation:
“Instead of going out after it and trying to create, the two of us have a saying we call the panic mode. Instead of panicking to go after the ball, let the ball come to you,” said Joyce.
When you watch Alexander play, his speed stands out first and foremost. Last year, with Rookie-Advanced Pulaski, he had nine triples and stole ten bases in 47 games. While the popular trend in the game today is hitting the long ball, the Yankees’ 19th Round pick in 2016 out of Hebron High School in Carrolton, Texas has a different focus at the plate:
“Line drives. I’m not the guy that is going to hit all those home runs. I know that’s the cool thing and what everyone wants to see, but that’s not me right now,” said Alexander.
Alexander’s nine triples were tied for the most in the Appalachian League a season ago. He is an aggressive runner on the basepaths and when he is able to put the ball in the gap, he is never afraid to take the extra base in order to help the team win:
“Putting the ball in the gap and trusting I can get there, making the defense have to make two perfect throws to get me out. I’ll take my chances anytime,” said Alexander about the key to having so many triples.
It’s been a long road for Alexander to get to this point as it is his fourth year in the organization. The key during a long minor season is surviving the grind to get better and that is something he has been working on:
A lot of ups and downs and learning how to manage those between the ears and try to stay as even-keeled as possible throughout”, said Alexander about his professional journey so far.
Alexander, who grew up rooting for Coco Crisp, also excelled in the classroom as well as on the field at Hebron as he was named an Academic All-State player in 2016. Academics were very important to him and his mother, according to the outfielder:
“It meant a lot. Growing up it was always school first and it made my mom really proud. It was always school first,” said Alexander about the award.
As Joyce mentioned, if Alexander can have the game slow down and come to him, he has the ability to put up good results with his contact hitting ability and that could take him a long way at the big league level:
He’s [Alexander] going to the plate with a lot more confidence now. He’s starting to figure it out. If he slows down and allows the ball to come to him, good things can happen,” said Joyce about the progression of Alexander’s swing.
If Alexander can avoid getting into panic mode, then his ability to get on-base at a high level can help him down the road as the hits could eventually follow. When he gets on base, he has the potential to create runs with his speed.