Yankees need to promote outcasted former No. 1 prospect

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial
Jul 20, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Estevan Florial (90) reacts after an RBI ground out during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ resistance to investing in young talent has become a contentious narrative throughout this season.

An Inefficient Roster Spot

Despite Franchy Cordero’s disappointing performance this season, with a meager .155 batting average and a .183 OBP, he still occupies a 40-man roster spot. The situation raises questions about the lack of other players who could fill that spot and possibly contribute more efficiently.

The Yankees and Estevan Florial

Interestingly, the Yankees have demoted former No. 1 prospect Estevan Florial with an apparent intent not to recall him. While Oswald Peraza has recently been promoted, Florial remains marooned in Triple-A with Scranton.

Florial is having an impressive year in Triple-A at 25 years old. The mature outfielder has played 70 games with Scranton this year, boasting a .291 batting average, .388 OBP, and .585 slugging percentage. He has also scored 21 homers, 53 RBIs, 18 stolen bases, and achieved a 135 WRC+. Though the lefty slugger has had a tough run at the MLB level, no worse than Cordero, his potential warrants a second look.

In his career, Florial has played only 30 MLB games, hitting .185 with a .302 OBP. Given the unit’s struggles this season, it’s surprising that he hasn’t been given another chance. The Yankees should consider trading him or letting him compete for a team that would offer him more playing time.

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Comparative Player Performance

Take Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Harrison Bader as examples. Kiner-Falefa has a .251 average with a .309 OBP, and Bader is hitting .246 with a .275 OBP. Both have a season wRC+ of 89, indicating they’re 11% worse than the average MLB player offensively.

While Bader’s defensive contributions have been noted this season, his low walk rate has undermined his ability to get on base. Peraza, in contrast, has picked up four walks since his promotion just three days ago.

The Yankees’ decision not to give Florial another opportunity seems illogical, especially when IKF is fielded every day despite poor defensive numbers. His offensive contributions aren’t compensating for his -6 defensive runs saved and -2 outs above average. This is not to discredit IKF, who has proven to be resilient and adaptable to the team’s needs, despite his precarious position during spring training.

Management’s Resistance to Youth

The prevailing issue is the management’s unwillingness to give young players opportunities, favoring veterans who’ve failed to establish themselves with an MLB team. Persisting with players like Billy McKinney, Jake Bauers, Franchy Cordero, and IKF reflects a desperate strategy.

As the deadline approaches, fans hope that Cashman will improve the roster. Reports suggest the Yankees might engage in simultaneous buying and selling to retool for the future.