The Yankees can salvage value from ex-top prospect

mlb: new york yankees at pittsburgh pirates, estesvan florial
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In a tense scenario at the bottom of the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Yankees rookie infielder Anthony Volpe found himself on the verge of ending the game with a ground ball to shortstop—usually a double-play scenario.

However, former Yankees top prospect Estevan Florial made an unexpected move. By running straight through second base, Florial threw off the shortstop’s throw, allowing two additional runs to score and putting the Yankees in the lead. While beating the Pirates isn’t exactly a feat worth a parade, it gave the struggling Yankees a much-needed morale boost.

Boone’s Take: The Good, The Bad, and The Lucky

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone later revealed that Florial’s surprising decision was, in fact, a blunder. “It was actually a mistake because if Florial makes contact with (the shortstop) there, they can call a double play,” Boone said. “This is not the play we want to do that on. (You do it) with two outs.”

Estevan Florial’s Ascendancy: Shining in Triple-A

With Jasson Dominguez sidelined due to a torn UCL, the Yankees decided to bring up Florial, who has been nothing short of spectacular in Triple-A this year. Through 101 games at that level, he boasts a .284 batting average and a .380 OBP, along with 28 home runs, 79 RBIs, 25 stolen bases, a 29.9% strikeout rate, a 13.7% walk rate, and a wRC+ of 130. Leading Scranton in homers, Florial has compiled an impressive season, offering hints that he could be due for more MLB opportunities.

Florial’s Yankees Stint: A Mixed Bag of Performance

Since his promotion, Florial has had a series of highs and lows at the MLB level. In his six games with the Yankees this year, he has managed a .167 batting average and a .348 OBP, accompanied by two RBIs, a 21.7% strikeout rate, and a 13% walk rate. While Florial possesses the attributes to excel defensively, his excessive strikeout and whiff rates have made the Yankees hesitant about his long-term future with the club.

The Future Outlook: Making a Case for Promotion

Reducing his strikeout rate by even a marginal amount could provide enough justification for the Yankees to keep Florial on the MLB roster, particularly as a supplemental piece. With Dominguez’s anticipated absence until mid-2024 due to surgery, Florial could potentially fill some outfield gaps for the team next season.

The Final Stretch: Two More Weeks to Prove His Worth

Florial has two more weeks to either solidify or jeopardize his place in the team’s plans. He has succeeded in getting on base in four consecutive games, a sign that he can make a positive impact. Nonetheless, the Yankees are expecting more from their former top prospect. While it’s too early to draw any sweeping conclusions, one thing remains clear: Florial has salvageable value but needs more time to fully prove himself.

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