The Yankees have buried their former top prospect

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have been giving a prolonged look to some of their top prospects this month, notably promoting both Austin Wells and Jasson Dominguez. This comes a week after elevating Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza to the roster. These fresh talents have been instrumental in rejuvenating the winning culture this season, even taking a series from the Houston Astros, a team typically dominating the Yankees.

The Forgotten Star: Estevan Florial’s Stint in Triple-A

Yet, amid this focus on the new crop of talent, the Yankees’ front office seems to have put their former top prospect, Estevan Florial, on the back burner. Now 25 years old, Florial finds himself stuck in Triple-A. He’s logged 94 games there this season, boasting a .280 batting average with a .379 OBP, along with 24 homers, 69 RBIs, 23 stolen bases, a 29.9% strikeout rate, 14.1% walk rate, and a 126 wRC+.

Aaron Boone Weighs In: Florial’s Untapped Potential

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone acknowledged Florial’s performance, stating, “Yeah, he definitely deserved it,” Boone said, via “I don’t think any of us would question his talent, and it’s been good to see him go out and really put together a strong season.”

However, Boone also mentioned that the team is keen to evaluate other prospects, keeping Florial sidelined for now.

The Underlying Issue: Florial’s Strikeout Rate

The bottom line is fairly straightforward: with a near 30% strikeout rate, Florial is not high on the Yankees’ call-up list. Moreover, he’s no longer part of the 40-man roster, making him available for acquisition by other teams looking for a potential starter.

“Look, he’s been in the conversation honestly for a long time now because he has had a strong year,” Boone added. “Some of it’s been complicated by not being on the 40-man anymore.”

Despite a MLB career spanning just 30 games, where he’s hit .185 with a .302 OBP, including a 33.3% strikeout rate, 12.7% walk rate, and 71 wRC+, Florial is yet to get the break he might be seeking.

Pereira vs Florial: A Tale of Two Prospects

In a surprising twist, Florial could end up with fewer MLB games than Pereira, who is currently facing challenges early in his Yankees career. While both have shown promise, the difference lies in their ages; Pereira is just 22, three years younger than Florial.

Pereira’s Stats and Potential

Pereira has a batting average of just .143 and a .234 OBP, including a 36.2% strikeout rate and an 8.5% walk rate. However, he excels defensively in the outfield and showcases immense potential as an offensive weapon.

Pereira’s aggressive approach to batting, targeting the ball early in counts, has been a double-edged sword, sometimes leading him into tricky situations. As he gains more exposure to MLB pitching, the hope is that he will adopt a more patient strategy and improve his efficiency.

A Long-Term View: Yankees’ Prospect Development Strategy

The Yankees are taking their time with the development of their prospects, providing them ample opportunity to hone their skills for a competitive run in the 2024 season. This cautious approach, while commendable, raises questions about forgotten talents like Florial, who might soon be out of time to prove their worth.

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