New York Yankees News/Rumors: Estevan Florial on the uptick? Colas and Galiz January 15 targets?

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

The New York Yankees have had prospect Estevan Florial in the headline for the last few years, but all has not been good. Florial was once a top prospect for the Yankees but fell from grace after multiple injuries and a performance slide. The Yankees signed Florial in 2015. But his start with the Yankees was a bit confusing, to say the least; he was originally signed in 2014 at the age of 17 under the name  “Haniel d’Oleo,” but that name could not be proved that contract was voided. A year later, he was signed under a new name Estevan Florial. He also had two birthplaces listed. It was finally decided he was born in Barahona, Dominican Republic.

At age 23, he is now playing winter ball in the Republic and showing signs of promise. But let’s start from the beginning. When his name and birthplace were finally decided upon, he made his professional debut that season with the Dominican Summer League Yankees 1, where he batted .313 with seven home runs and 53 RBIs in 57 games.  He was soon named the New York Yankees’ top prospect and possibly an heir apparent to Brett Gardner in centerfield.

In 2016 he played for three minor league teams, including the Charleston Riverdogs hitting .227 with eight home runs and thirty RBIs in 67 total games among the three teams. In 2017 he started with the Riverdogs and was selected to play in the All-Star Futures Game. After hitting .297 with the Dogs, he was promoted to Tampa and eventually the Trenton Thunder. He finished the season slashing .303/.368/.461 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 19 games.

He started 2018 still being one of the top Yankee prospects, but all was to go downhill with various injuries, first a hamate bone that required surgery and later a wrist fracture. After the season, he played in the Arizona Fall League, where he did not impress, hitting just .178. He ended up playing the 2019 season with Tampa, where he improved that somewhat to .237. In 2020 he was called up for his Major League debut on August 28, 2020, he got one hit, but after the game, he was returned to the minors in favor of Clint Frazier.

With his name tarnished, he was directed to play in the Winter League in the Dominican Republic. After a relatively slow start for Leones Del Escogido, Florial broke out last week to record three multihit efforts that have helped lift his season average from .182 to .280. Last Wednesday, he got his first home run, a two-run shot. This shows promise that he could return to his former form. He has the tools to be a Yankees star; he has speed, excellent defense in centerfield, a good arm, and potential power at the plate.

New York Yankees International targets for January 15th.

Two names to watch on the international market that could be signed by the Yankees on signing day, January 15, are from two different countries. First, we look at 22-year-old Cuban outfielder Oscar Colás. Colas should be a Yankee target as he can play anywhere in the outfield. Colás has played several seasons in Japan already, reaching the highest levels of the sport.

Colás played in the Western League, the American equivalent of Double-A. He slashed a .300/.353/.511 with 12 home runs in 73 games. When he was called up to make his Fukuoka debut, he hit a home run in his first game. Colas did not play in 2020 due to complications and technicalities with the Cuban Government over his free agency. But on Tuesday, he was certified as a free agent and eligible to be signed as early as January 15.

Another target should be Jesus Galiz. Galiz is known as one of the best catching prospects in baseball. The Yankees have deficiencies in both the minor leagues and the majors with catchers, making signing Galiz a priority. Galiz has previously been linked to the New York Yankees, but the Yankees may have competition from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both of these targets would be great for the Yankees, but with only so many international bonus pool dollars available.

The Yankees should be looking to add talented players every opportunity they can. Last season, they went all-in to add uber-prospect Jasson Dominguez, and he is now considered their number one prospect. Although playing in the Dominican, Dominquez may be invited to spring training and go on to play in the Yankee Minor League system this season.