New York Yankees: 3 prospects to watch during spring training

New York Yankees, Michael King
Sep 27, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael King (73) throws a pitch in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

With spring training just around the bend, the New York Yankees will get another look at their prospects and if they’re capable of making the jump to the MLB. There are several reserve slots open to young players — the departure of Cameron Maybin opens up an opportunity to be added to the active roster.

Here are three New York Yankees prospects that could make the jump in 2020:

1.) Estevan Florial

Florial has been in the works for years now, and several timely injuries have minimalized his progression towards earning a role on the top team. A broken hamate bone and a broken wrist limited his sample size in 2019, and the previous two years were hampered by ailments as well.

However, Florial has all of the physical tools to develop into a quality player, especially in the outfield. He has elite speed, solid contact, and defensive attributes. He’s flashed potential to be great, and 2020 might finally be his year to crack the team, but he must have an excellent spring training. During last year’s session, he hit .368 with a homer and four stolen bases. Replicating that performance will significantly improve his chances of getting the call.

2.) Michael King

With Domingo German’s suspension taking place into the regular season of 2019, Michael King was his subsequent replacement.

“Pure joy,” King said about his emotions when being called up. “I had to immediately call my parents, I texted one of my buddies, it was just pure joy.”

The Yankees’ No. 5 ranked prospect earned a 2.93 ERA and 28-19 record in the minors, and he’s known explicitly for his below-average groundball rate. Last season with Scranton/Wilkes Barre, King logged a 3-1 record with a 4.18 ERA. While his numbers at High-A ball don’t scream efficiency, he has proved he can be a successful pitcher in small doses. Spring training should give him the chance to prove his worth to manager Aaron Boone. I expect to see him feature in a bullpen role next season.

3.) Deivi Garcia

The Yankees’ No. 1 prospect has gotten plenty of hype in recent years, but last season was his breakout campaign. He climbed to High-A ball in just three months, showing the speed of his development at 21-years-old. If the Bombers include him for spring training, he will have the opportunity to showcase his incredible ball-control and speed for a youngster. Getting a good look at him will be a priority for Boone, I believe, but they may keep him in Scranton next season, allowing him to proceed with his development at his most challenging level.

With the Rail Riders, Garcia squeezed together a 1-3 record and 5.40 ERA. His eight home runs in 11 games quadrupled his HR total before joining the top minor league squad. Clearly, he was not prepared to take on this level of talent, and it could be due to the juiced baseballs being used last year.

However, several scouts haven’t been impressed by Garcia’s stuff, despite his youthfulness, stating:

In all honesty, I don’t understand the hype. I’ve seen him pitch a few times and the stuff just doesn’t grade out to be a top of the line starter. Maybe with time he can develop since he’s really young, but I just don’t see top arm talent when I see him.

With the stuff he currently has, he’s projecting to be a back-end starter. I think he could be good at the MLB level, but nothing special.

Garcia has a shot to feature in a small role with the Yankees in 2020, but it’s very dependant on how he looks this spring.