Ex-Yankees top prospect may have finally run out of breathing room

mlb: arizona diamondbacks at new york yankees, estevan florial
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees made some significant improvement in the outfield this past week, adding Alex Verdugo, Juan Soto, and Trent Grisham. A year after they sported one of the worst outfields in baseball, general manager Brian Cashman spent a significant amount of capital, notably minor league pitching, to acquire more talent.

However, with the outfield now situated, a few players will be looking to stifle off competition and win a roster spot during spring training. One of those outliers is former top prospect Estevan Florial, who had projected to be a decent supplementary option in the outfield next year, but with the new additions, he could be on the outs.

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The Yankees May Finally Move on From Estevan Florial

At 26 years old, Florial has no minor league options left but is coming off a few promising games at the end of the 2023 season. He played 19 games, hitting .230/.324/.311, including eight RBIs, a 28.2% strikeout rate and 9.9% walk rate. His 83 wRC+ indicated he was 17% worse than the average player, but Florial is a decent defensive piece and has great athleticism.

This may truly be Florial’s last opportunity to latch on with the Yankees during spring training, especially with Everson Pereira gunning for a depth spot as well. Pereira may have an advantage, given he’s only 22 years old and dominated in Triple-A last year, but struggled at the MLB level, hitting .151/.233/.194. He has underrated power and simply needs to improve his chase rate and plate discipline, which should help him improve his averages.

Florial continues to struggle with the same problems, an elevated strike-out rate that limits his ability to make quality contact. However, his potential as a lefty hitter and Yankee Stadium was always a component in his hype. At this point, he faces a major challenge cracking the roster, but nothing is impossible.