New York Yankees: 2 rising youth players who can land an active roster spot for the 2020 season

With just nine days left until the New York Yankees open the regular season against the Washington Nationals, building out the active roster is a more pressing challenge. With four more spots opened up for a condensed 60 game schedule, the Yankees can carry extra players into the season.

With numerous youth players fighting for an opportunity, there are two specific youngsters who have looked good at times during intrasquad exhibition games.

Here are two youth players that could make the active roster:

1.) Deivi Garcia

Garcia is one of the most exciting prospects climbing the minor-league system. He jumped all the way to the No. 3 prospect in the organization last season.

He rose from single-A to AAA baseball in just three months, and over three starts this past Spring Training period before the MLB shit down, he allowed six runs over seven innings. While his small sample size suggests obvious struggles, there is plenty of potential to unveil as his development progresses.

In an intrasquad game last week, Garcia acted as an opener, an interesting role that could earn him live reps during the regular season.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone liked what he saw from the youngster. He said Garcia was “really efficient,” and he threw some “good breaking pitches.” Boone talked about how facing some of the “big boys” was a “good step up for him.” He finished by saying that it was “good to see him get out there and get going.”

Garcia finished the first inning striking out two batters and dominating his way to a positive response from Boone. This is a great sign for Deivi and gives him an advantage moving forward.

WATCH: Yankees’ Estevan Florial nails Luke Voit at third base with amazing throw

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

The New York Yankees are ironing out the active roster with every intrasquad game, and outfielder Estavan Florial is one of the summer camp youth players looking to leave their mark.

Florial, who has suffered multiple wrist injuries over the last two seasons, is climbing his way back to form. He was formally the number one ranked prospect in the Yankees’ farm system and one of the top in all of baseball, but his lack of reps and production has hurt his progression.

Nonetheless, when Gleyber Torres hit a line drive base hit to right field, Florial utilized his fantastic arm to throw out Luke Voit, who was rounding second and heading to third. While Voit might not be the fastest player on the team, Estevan showed off one of his most exciting tools.

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Florial is considered a five-tool player with the potential to be a starting outfielder in the MLB. This opportunity has given him a chance to showcase his abilities after playing in just 74 games last year. With Tampa, he hit .237 with eight homers and 38 RBIs. The Yankees are desperately seeking more production from the outfielder in the hopes he can make his way to the starting team one day.

Could the Yankees give Estevan Florial the opportunity of a life time?

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

The last we heard of New York Yankees prospect Estevan Florial, he was torturing Nationals right-handed pitcher Hunter Strickland in a spring game. Florial ripped a 97 MPH fastball down the third-base line into the corner. The hit put the Yankees ahead by three and secured a 6-3 victory over Washington. This was the final game before MLB shut down operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Baseball America noted that Florial is in desperate need of a bounce-back year, and the delay of the season undoubtedly hurt his progression. However, the Yankees could give him the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on the 30-man roster during a shortened 60-game campaign.

Few prospects are in bigger need of a rebound than Florial, who has missed chunks of time over the last two years with broken bones in his right wrist. When he’s been on the field, he’s suffered from a lack of strike-zone discipline and the corresponding timing issues that come with such long layoffs. He still has the raw tools to be a productive major leaguer—he went 1-for-2 on Friday—but needs to show some results this season, which will likely begin (at some point) in Double-A Trenton.

Florial is considered one of the best prospects in the Yankees farm system and has been rated that way for quite some time. However, injuries have significantly limited his development and progression as an athlete and baseball player. The Yankees decided to put him on the 40-man roster this off-season, and while it is a longshot, he lands an active spot in a shortened season, nothing is impossible.

The Dominican Republic native played in 74 games with Tampa Bay in 2019. Over 301 plate appearances, he posted eight home runs, 38 RBIs, and tallied a .237 batting average. His offense has struggled significantly, but his defense at centerfield as been solid. Over 529 innings in the outfield last season, he posted a .973 fielding percentage and allowed four errors.

He has the potential to be a fantastic professional player, but health has been his major concern. He’s broken his wrist twice and suffered other ailments, but if he can remain healthy this year, the Yankees could find a place for him on the active roster. While I believe it is a longshot, they could swap him in considering the condensed schedule that will require players to feature frequently. Fatigue remains a serious concern for players, and having alternatives like Estevan prepared is only a positive.

New York Yankees: 2 high-rated prospects at a severe disadvantage with shortened season

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

Taking a look at two of the New York Yankees’ top prospects and how the shortened season will impact their progression:

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot more harm in every industry than most realize. With people struggling across the globe and lifestyles taking a significant hit, baseball is one function in society that has been halted due to the concern of further spread.

Major League teams are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the loss in revenue, time, and entertainment for fans. The minor-league system has been hit even harder, stopping the progression of prospects and seriously damaging the income required to operate specific farm systems. For the Yankees, two high-rated prospects will see a disadvantage from the postponement of the regular season.

Estevan Florial is the first Yankee who will suffer the consequences of a shortened 2020 campaign. At 22 years old, the Dominican has struggled to put together complete seasons of adequate play, dealing with injuries and inconsistencies over the last few seasons. The 2020 year was projected to be a bounce-back for Florial, who has seen 325 at-bats or fewer in four of his five seasons as a professional.

His best season was in 2017 when he earned the number one spot in MLB Pipeline’s top 30 rankings. He posted a .298 batting average with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs. He also stole 23 bases in 120 games. Breaking his wrist twice the last two seasons has undoubtedly set him back, and a shortened campaign in 2020 will only do so again. A limited sample size will inevitably slow his progression and force the Yankees to wait another year until he can prove his worth.

However, it is possible the league extends the active roster and opens up a slot for Florial to be added. While this is just a rumor, expanding the active roster to mitigate injury risk could be a possibility.

Another prospect the Yankees will have to wait on is Deivi Garcia. In Grapefruit League play this past spring, García finished with a 7.36 ERA allowing seven runs over 7.1 innings. While eight strikeouts and a nasty curveball accompanied his statistically poor performance, he still has challenges to overcome in development to endure.

I would anticipate him making his debut in 2020, and the shortened season will undoubtedly hurt him as well. Luckily, both Florial and Garcia are young enough to withstand the storm and emerge on the other side unscathed.

Latest scouting report on Yankees’ prospect Estevan Florial isn’t very encouraging

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

For years, the New York Yankees have had an elite center field prospect in Estevan Florial. The kid can run like the wind and when he does make contact, it is usually powerful. He is a good fielder in center and has a fantastic throwing arm. Basically, you could say he has, comfortably, four above-average tools.

The fifth one, the one he is currently lacking, is perhaps the most important: hitting. Estevan Florial has issues making consistent contact and having decent batting averages, especially in the last couple of seasons in which he has been injured.

Injuries and strikeouts are a problem. And despite his still relatively young age (22,) the lefty-swinging outfielder has a lot to prove before the New York Yankees can picture a future with him being a fixture in the lineup.

Florial has five pro seasons to his name, and in four of them, he has had 325 or fewer at-bats, per NJ.com. Over the last three seasons, he has a .253 average and 229 strikeouts in 644 high-A at-bats. His spring training numbers are also disappointing.

The Yankees’ center fielder of the future?

NJ.com spoke to a veteran scout who has been following Florial for several years now. His report wasn’t very encouraging.

“it’s ridiculous to say Florial isn’t still a prospect. Is he a major concern at this moment? No. But if you’re the Yankees and watching his progress and how his injuries may have affected him … he’s falling to the Greg Bird routine.”

“You have to play,” added the scout, who asked to remain anonymous. “You have to be healthy. I hate to say this, but some players are brittle. Some players can sneeze and blow their backs out. And then when an organization decides time has run out on a player, they end up going somewhere else and sometimes become a star.

“The positive is Florial’s only 22 years old. Also, he’s not had major, major injuries, and he’s regrouped. And I’ve seen his tools. When he makes contact, the ball jumps off his bat. You see the rangy, athletic actions going back on the ball. You see the ability.”

Florial’s star has fallen so much that 17-year old Jasson Dominguez is now viewed as the New York Yankees’ center fielder of the future.

“Sometimes you run out of time and sometimes other prospects come in and bypass you,” the scout said. “Jasson Dominguez has passed Florial, but a lot of things can happen. We’ve seen it already with Florial. Let’s wait and see how this plays out.”

New York Yankees five-tool prospect is quickly becoming irrelevant

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

A lot can happen in two years, and New York Yankees five-tool prospect Estevan Florial can attest to that statement. Two years ago, Florial was a must-see player during spring training, as he was expected to be the Yankees next centerfielder. However, injuries have plagued his career up to this point and set him back significantly from his overall goal of reaching the big leagues.

At 20 years old, most believed he had the defensive attributes to start in the majors, but he suffered a broken wrist in both 2018 and ’19, forcing him to rehab for a majority of the season while putting together a minimal sample size worth of statistics.

This off-season would have been the perfect opportunity for Florial to earn starting reps in the outfield, especially with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks, all missing time. The outfield was set to start the season with Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, and Clint Frazier as their starting three. However, with the coronavirus setting back Opening Day, things could be different.

In 2019, Florial was still the Yankees number one ranked prospect, but he dropped this off-season significantly as others continue to climb the list. Young starting pitcher Deivi Garcia and outfield Jasson Dominguez have risen considerably in recent months.

What must Estevan Florial do to earn a spot on the New York Yankees’ top team?

Estevan must do two things during the 2020 campaign, and those are to stay on the field and remain healthy, and cut down his strikeout rate. In five years, Florial has struck out on 28% of his plate appearances. Over the last two years, he has struck out 127 times and collected 78 hits.

“It’s part of the game. You don’t want to strike out all of the time,” Florial said, per Baseball America. “I have to get better at that.”

“Everyone sees the potential. At some point (a player) has to start producing,” farm director Kevin Reese said when asked about Florial.

The young outfielder is running out of time to prove his worth before being pushed toward the back of the line. This upcoming season should be essential in his development and progress for the future — health remains a significant factor.

New York Yankees Prospects: Estevan Florial

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

A few years ago, the New York Yankees envisioned Estevan Florial as their star center fielder of the future. Florial had incredible speed, above-average power, and a very good arm from center. He had/has all the makeups of an all-star centerfielder. Many thought he would be on the fast track to the majors during his time in the minors. When the Yankees needed starting pitching over the last few years, Florial was often a prospect that many teams would ask for. However, New York never showed any interest in dealing with him. Brian Cashman has believed that Estevan Florial would live up to the hype. However, that has yet to happen.

Up & Down

Florial does in fact have all the tools, but he has had a lot of bad luck when it comes to injuries over the last few years. He’s broken bones in his wrist the last couple of years which has hindered his ability to play. Florial became one of the top prospects in the New York Yankees system after an incredible 2017 where he hit .298 and stole 23 bases. Florial also showed off his great defensive ability in 2017. The one big drawback to Florial in 2017 was pitch recognition. In 110 games, Florial struck out 148 times. I will say that those struggles are nothing out of the ordinary by a guy who is still cutting his teeth in the professional ranks. Many thought that Florial would be able to iron out those issues over the next couple of years. The problem is that Florial has had wrist issues that have caused him to miss significant chunks of the last couple of seasons. Florial played 84 games in 2018 then played 74 games in 2019. Last year was a very difficult year for Florial that still saw his strikeout numbers remain high, but his batting average dipped below .240. Florial really never seemed like he could get his timing right after the injury to his wrist. The last few years have been very frustrating for Estevan Florial, but maybe 2020 could be the time to turn the corner.

2020 Outlook

The 2020 season is going to be delayed to the COVID-19 breakout, but once the season starts, Florial should be a guy that all fans are looking at. He’s looking to bounce back and stay healthy after the last two rough seasons. Florial still has excellent speed and good pop for a centerfielder. What I’m looking for this year is his pitch recognition. I want to see if Florial is able to get those strikeout numbers down. The problem for Florial being a high strikeout guy, is he doesn’t counter those strikeouts with huge power like Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton. Florial has good power, but it’s nothing that is elite. If he can get the batting average back up, cut down on his strikeouts, and stay healthy, Florial has the talent to move through the system very quickly. Florial was considered the center fielder of the future for the Yankees just last year. That is no longer the case with the kid from Mars taking over that distinction. Florial can play with a chip on his shoulder this year, and I believe he can bounce back to prove that he is still one of the brightest prospects in the New York Yankees farm system.

New York Yankees updates/news: Roster cuts includes two top prospects, Gary Sanchez injury update

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

The New York Yankees announced their first roster cuts of Spring Training on Monday, including right-hander, Albert Abreu, and five-tool player, Estevan Florial.

Florial, who has seen his stock drop significantly due to injuries the past few seasons, will fight to regain his form and climb the minor-league system in 2020. Both Abreu and Florial will drop down to Double-A Trenton. After posting dismal numbers in live-action this spring, Florial is quickly falling out of favor with the club and becoming a potential trade candidate moving forward.

Currently, Florial, 22, is considered the team’s No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, failing five slots this offseason after being coined the top dog in 2019.

Who else was optioned by the New York Yankees?

High-A Tampa gained two solid righty pitchers, including Luis Gil and Luis Medina.  Triple-A gained Brooks Kriske, a right-handed pitcher.

Additionally, Domingo Acevedo and Alexander Vizcaino, both righty pitchers, will attend the Yankees’ minor-league camp. The Yanks mostly expected these cuts, but next week will be more critical as they shed veteran players with more experience. We could see some players hit the injured reserve to start the season, which would allow the Yankees to keep more reserve options on the active roster for the start of the 2020 season.

Will the Yankees elevate Estevan Florial to the active roster in 2020?

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

Injuries have severely hurt the chances of Estevan Florial earning a spot on the New York Yankees in recent years. However, none of the injuries were soft-tissue related, as they all seemed to be freak accidents, broken bones, or just plain bad luck.

Florial, though, is dropping in the prospect rankings as he fails to make an impact at the biggest stage, falling 12 spots from No. 2 to No. 14 in just half a year (Baseball America). MLB Pipeline has dropped Florial from their top-100 list completely, showing him that they aren’t willing to indulge in his five-tool physical traits any longer.

This pre-season offers Estevan yet another chance at reclaiming the optimism most have placed on his head. On Friday, he sparked a Yankee comeback, launching a two-run shot in the 7th inning. The Bombers went on to win the game due to his heroics.

“I know what kind of player I am,” Florial said in the clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday. “I know who I am.”

Florial could start the season as high as Scranton, but more likely in Double-A ball as he attempts to string together consistent performances. The Yankees could decide to give him a shot at the top, though, as his abilities will translate well once he earns the opportunity.

However, playing just 74 games with high-A Tampa last year, and dealing with a fractured wrist during spring training in 2019 has slowed his roll. In 2018, he battled a broken hamate bone, limiting him to 84 games.

If the Yankees are unwilling to give him a chance this year, at the very least, Florial can put together a healthy season, which would convince the Bombers they can count on him to be their future starter in center field.

“Being on the 40-man roster, that doesn’t mean you automatically are going to be in the big leagues right away,” He said. “But it’s a huge step. I’m not going to say it’s not. It’s a step forward.”

Florial dropping in the rankings has caught his attention, but he has assured us that it’s not a bothersome reality.

“I don’t let anything outside the field affect me,” he said. “Being on the (prospect) list is good. I’m not going to say it’s bad. But for me I know what kind of player I am. So that doesn’t affect me at all.”

New York Yankees: Why This Spring Is Huge for Yankees Prospect

The New York Yankees are set to report to Spring Training next month, and all of Yankee universe was in a tizzy over Jasson Dominguez’s signing. While not expected to be “major league ready” until 2024 (which would make him a 21-year-old), people are heralding him as the next Mike Trout. Which makes this a crucial Spring Training for the Yankees another highly regarded outfield prospect. No, not Clint Frazier (although he needs to RAKE this spring if he wants his 4th outfielder spot back from Mike Tauchman). I’m talking about Estevan Florial.

Florial Still Shows Promise

Consistently regarded as a 5 tool player, Florial’s statistics show that he’s a more than capable ballplayer. It’s hard to take seriously the reports about Dominguez’s prowess because a highlight reel of him bashing dingers is just that. A highlight reel meant to make him look good. 

Meanwhile, Florial’s track record indicates he is inching his way closer to cracking AA, and even AAA. Depending on his performance this spring, it could mean he finally plays above advanced A ball for the first time in his career, a step in the right direction for a team with fragility in all three outfield positions on the major league level.

But Florial is Also Injury Prone

Part of what has hindered Florial’s development in the minors is he’s just as injury prone as Hicks, Judge, and Stanton. In 5 seasons of minor league play, he’s played in less than 400 games, his highest total coming in 2017. Now, yes, he was shot in a mugging attempt in his home country, which isn’t his fault. But in 2018, he missed time due to surgery, and last season suffered a wrist fracture during Spring Training, sidelining him till June. 

With the center field being his strongest position, and Hicks being almost as fragile as Jacoby was, there is a path for Florial by the end of this year, beginning of 2021 to make it to the bigs. But his defense is truly only a marginal improvement over Frazier’s. I do believe Frazier (like Andujar) can make a radical enough improvement to his defense to make them both Gold Glove caliber players either this OR next season. But if you can’t stay healthy, you don’t get to play, because someone else has your job. And if Florial can’t get out of spring healthy, he may never get a chance to get past Tampa.

He’s feeling the pressure right now. I just hope it doesn’t force him to blow it once the exhibition games start this spring.