Yankees top prospect bust shows signs of life

mlb: game one-new york yankees at boston red sox, estevan florial
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

In a move corresponding to the placement of star outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez on the injured list, the New York Yankees promoted 25-year-old former No. 1 prospect Estevan Florial. A contentious figure in the Yankees’ farm system, Florial has spent significant time honing his skills in Triple-A.

The Metrics That Held Him Back

Florial has had his share of struggles, specifically concerning his strikeout and whiff metrics. In his 101 games this year with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Florial has managed a hefty 29.9% strikeout rate. On the flip side, he’s showcased some promising numbers, batting .284 with an on-base percentage (OBP) of .380 and cranking out 28 homers along with 79 RBIs.

A Reality Check for the Yankees

While it’s apparent the Yankees aren’t envisioning a starring role for him in their future game plans, Florial does possess a tangible skill set that makes him a viable supplementary option. The management will have to grapple with the reality surrounding Estevan—while he’s prone to striking out a lot, he also possesses powerful hitting abilities and versatile athleticism.

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First Impressions: Florial vs The Red Sox

Florial got the nod for the first two games in a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox this Tuesday afternoon. The young outfielder had a rocky start, striking out twice in his first four at-bats during Game 1. However, Florial found his rhythm in Game 2, contributing a hit, a walk, and an RBI, in addition to getting hit by a pitch.

Contributing to a Victory and What it Means for the AL East

Florial’s performance certainly had a positive effect on the Yankees’ 4–1 win over the Red Sox, propelling the team just above the .500 mark. This win also left the Yankees and the Red Sox tied for last place in the AL East, offering hope that the Yankees might avoid ending the season at the bottom of the standings.

The Road Ahead: 2024 Spring Training?

Given the injuries to Jasson Dominguez and the looming questions around Everson Pereira, Florial could very well find himself in the mix during the 2024 Spring Training. At the very least, his recent performances have earned him the right to be considered, even if the Yankees ultimately decide not to deploy him in a prominent role.