Roster spots in baseball have become exceptionally valuable, and the New York Yankees are no exception to this rule.
They’ve discovered a few contributors, such as Jake Bauers and Willie Calhoun, who are demonstrating their worthiness to retain their positions. Conversely, there are also players who performed poorly in 2022 or are currently underperforming, yet they continue to occupy a spot. Balancing everyone on the active roster is increasingly challenging.
For instance, despite the Yankees having a plethora of infield options, including Anthony Volpe, Gleyber Torres, Anthony Rizzo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, DJ LeMahieu, and Josh Donaldson, Oswald Peraza has shown he merits promotion. It’s challenging to accommodate them all.
A similar situation is transpiring in the outfield. Giancarlo Stanton has returned to the roster, Bauers is regaining form, and Oswaldo Cabrera has been promoted. However, Aaron Judge will soon be placed on the injured list.
This may be an opportune moment to promote a former top Yankees prospect who could potentially experience post-hype success: Estevan Florial.
Florial is currently enjoying a phenomenal season in Triple-A, posting a .317/.420/.623 line, 12 home runs, 35 runs, and an impressive wRC+ of 156.
Despite this, the Yankees decided to promote outfielder Billy McKinney on Wednesday, a move that appears odd given his lackluster career statistics.
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Florial’s progress with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate remains steady.
His strikeout rate, currently at 31 percent, remains a concern. However, he has made some improvements in this area as well. Since May 27, he boasts a .333/.361/.636 line with a 138 wRC+ and a 19.4 percent strikeout rate. Additionally, in the seven games during that span, he recorded five doubles, a triple, and a home run.
Given his consistent hard hitting, his ability to run, and his proficient corner outfield defense, it might be time for the Yankees to consider him seriously. Despite his struggles at the MLB level, he’s only had 63 plate appearances there.
While he may never hit .300, that’s acceptable as long as he can contribute power, speed, and defense, maintain a batting average of at least .240-.250, and demonstrate sound on-base skills. These attributes could secure him a future in the majors. We know he has the potential. The question is, will he be able to realize it? More importantly, will he be given the opportunity?