As the New York Yankees consider making significant investments in star talent like Juan Soto, they’re also mindful of filling other positions cost-effectively. Owner Hal Steinbrenner, while capable of substantial spending, aims for a more balanced financial approach, focusing on prospect development as a key strategy in 2024.
Outfield Prospects on the Rise
With 20-year-old Jasson Dominguez expected to recover from Tommy John surgery, the Yankees are hopeful for his contribution to their outfield late during the 2024 season. However, the team is preparing for a competitive position battle in spring training, with prospects Everson Pereira and Estevan Florial as notable contenders.
Pereira’s Potential Despite Struggles
At 22, Pereira’s minor-league dominance has set high expectations, although his initial foray into the majors was challenging. His struggle to maintain a strong on-base percentage and control his strikeout rate will be areas for improvement, but his defensive skills in the outfield show promise.
Florial’s Final Shot
Florial, once a top prospect and now at a crossroads at 25 years old, has no minor-league options remaining. The upcoming season may be his last chance to secure a spot on the Yankees roster before facing the possibility of being outrighted.
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Evaluating Florial’s Performance
Despite Florial’s high strikeout rates, his closing performance last season and exceptional Triple-A stats—boasting a .284 average and 28 home runs—suggest a latent potential that the Yankees could harness.
The Case for Florial Over Bauers
With the Yankees parting ways with players like Franchy Cordero and Billy McKinney, there’s an argument to be made for prioritizing prospects like Florial for roster spots. The Yankees’ past hesitance to utilize him fully was perplexing, but a shift toward relying on up-and-coming talent could be beneficial.
Spring Training Decisions and Trade Considerations
Spring training will be crucial for Florial, who must outperform peers like Pereira. Meanwhile, Pereira could either be honed further in Triple-A or become a trade asset. The potential acquisition of a player like Soto would necessitate strategic moves, possibly involving these young outfielders.