New York Yankees Waiting For Spring To Bloom This Outfielder
He has been on the radar of New York Yankee fans since the age of 17, when he signed with the team and played in the Dominican Summer league. Seventeen is a young age to determine if someone is going to be a Major League Baseball player. That's why they call them prospects.
Now 24 years-old, Estevan Florial is beginning to reach the point of now or never. The one-time elite prospect is beginning to face the scrutiny that never evades older minor leaguers. Are they better than the younger player behind them? Can they hit major league pitching? Can we get anything for him in a trade?
Florial is an amazing outfielder. His defensive prowess in centerfield at Yankee Stadium would surely give New York pitchers an advantage with that particularly vast outfield. However, Florial has not shown that he can consistently hit. So far this spring, he has gone 0 for 8. That certainly is going to open any eyes in a good direction but it's early and a small sample.
In 28 plate appearances in the big leagues, Estevan is sporting a cool .304 batting average. Included in his 7 hits is one home run and two doubles. The Yankees don't expect Florial to be a power hitter but they need him to make contact more often. In 1854 at-bats in the minors, the young outfielder has struck-out 605 times. That ratio often doesn't go in a better direction in the majors. That is the focus this spring.
Right now where does Estevan Florial fit into plans? Well, with the expanded early April rosters, it looks like he could start the season in big leagues acting as the Pinstripes 4th outfielder, not counting Giancarlo Stanton in that mix. That's only if the prospect hits in these Grapefruit League games. If not, I don't see it. General manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone would love to see Florial be Aaron Hicks' eventual replacement in centerfield. The clock is ticking on that becoming a reality for the Yankees.