Former Yankees No. 1 prospect quickly running out of time to make roster

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial
Mar 14, 2022; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Estevan Florial (90) during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have several difficult decisions to make this off-season, especially with spring training less than two weeks away. Figuring out who will start at the shortstop position, ironing out some back-end bullpen options, and the coveted left-field job are all in question, but one former top prospect is desperately trying to stick with the team after years of inconsistent play.

If you haven’t figured out who that player might be just yet, it is none other than Estavan Florial, the Yankees’ former No. 1 prospect who has fallen from grace due to a number of injuries and an elevated strikeout rate at the minor-league level.

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The Yankees are giving Estevan Florial one more chance:

The Bombers have given Florial opportunities in the majors on several occasions, starting back in 2020 when he played one game. He enjoyed 11 games in 2021 and a career-high 17 games last season, in which he hit .097 with a .200 OBP across 35 plate appearances. The sample sizes are small, and Florial may have deserved more consistency, but the Yankees generally look for instant contributors and not players that require weeks, if not months, to find their groove.

Looking at Estevan’s AAA numbers from last year, they are quite efficient. He hit .283 with a .368 OBP, 15 homers, 46 RBIs, and 39 stolen bases. The outlier is his strikeout rate, settling in at 30.4%. Unfortunately, when you’re being mowed down at 30+ percent at the AAA level, things generally only get worse when called to the MLB. That is exactly what happened, hosting a 37.1% strikeout rate last year, which forced manager Aaron Boone to go in a different direction.

Unfortunately, the team doesn’t have any minor-league options regarding Florial, so this spring may be his final opportunity to justify a 40-man roster spot; otherwise, he could find himself packing and looking for an opportunity elsewhere.

At this point, the only way Florial can find himself staying with the Yankees is if he dominates this spring, which is unlikely, given his numbers during the Winter League. In fact, in the Dominican Winter League this off-season, Florial played in 13 games, hitting .044 with a .185 OBP. He collected just one hit across 23 at-bats, suggesting he will need a miracle to prove his worth and win the starting left job position.

Evidently, Florial may simply be standing in the way of other prospects who could use his opportunities and take full advantage. His inability to translate to the MLB is becoming a more serious conversation, and he realistically only has one more chance to showcase his qualities.