When New York Yankees top prospect Estevan Florial was chosen to feature in the Grapefruit League this spring, not many knew what he would bring to the table. His immense athleticism and speed were as apparent as ever, but a string of injuries affected his hitting significantly in 2018.
Thus far, Florial is 7-for-20 at the plate, hitting .350 with five runs scored, two doubles, one homer, four RBIs, two walks, five strikeouts, and four stolen bases. In other words, he’s proven why he belongs on the shortlist to be called up to the majors.
The YEstevan Florial brings a different dynamic to the New York Yankees:
The Yankees don’t have a true base runner than can steal bases and put runners in scoring position. You could make the argument that Brett Gardner is ‘that’ guy, but his role is diminishing with every passing season. Florial brings that aspect to the game, and it could be a huge positive moving forward.
Players are noticing how talented Florial is:
When All-Star’s are noticing talent, you know there’s something to write home about. Slugger Aaron Judge commented on one specific at-bat of Estevan’s:
“The swing he had in Clearwater, an opposite field, middle-in, line drive three-run homer, you don’t see that too often,’’ Judge said.
“We were playing catch the other day,’’ Judge further commented, according to the New York Post, “and he was playing catch with somebody and I was playing catch with [Giancarlo] Stanton, right before we did an infield-outfield.’’
Florial said to Judge, “Let’s throw it over the fence.’’
“From here? All the way out past center field?’ Florial said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, all right, and I crow-hopped and threw it and my ball barely just scraped over the wall. He threw that thing dang near on Dale Mabry out there. It was about 50 feet past mine. It was impressive.’’
If Judge’s gushing optimism for Florial didn’t cut it, maybe legend Willie Randolph can convince you:
“Florial reminds me of a young Bernie Williams,’’ Randolph said. “He glides when he runs, just like Bernie. His game flows. I’m excited for him.’’
Earning more reps and working his way up through the minor leagues will be the goal for Florial in 2019. He’s an extremely talented young player that has as much potential as anybody, but remaining healthy and gaining confidence will be his biggest challenge in the season ahead. Having a good spring at the plate and in the field certainly helps elevate those two factors.