The Yankees announced this afternoon that Estevan Florial would play the role of 29th man in their doubleheader versus the Mets. Florial will play center field and bat seventh in game one at Yankee Stadium.
This marks a big day for the former top prospect. Florial shot up prospect lists two years ago, ranking as high as 26th in the world per Baseball Prospectus ahead of the 2018 season, and slotting in 38th on Baseball America’s list that same year. Myriad injuries, however, have derailed Florial’s ascent.
During his 2018 campaign, Florial broke the hamate bone in his right hand. In a spring training game in 2019 with the big league club, Florial fractured his right wrist attempting to make a catch at the center field wall. Florial returned to game action in June, but struggled to a .680 OPS in High-A.
Florial is just 22-years-old and possesses obvious skills, but he hasn’t played above the High-A level and has lost much of his prospect sheen. With the minor-league season cancelled, a direct promotion to the majors is the only avenue for prospects like Florial to legitimate game action. It’s a lot to ask of a young man to skip multiple levels, but his talent once made him a premier prospect, and perhaps his play at the Yankees’ alternate site has impressed.
This may be just a quick stop at the highest level for Florial, as the Yankees may send him back down with the completion of today’s twinbill, as they did Albert Abreu after Wednesday’s pair of games. Regardless, it’s always heartening to see prospects fulfill their lifelong dreams, even in the twisted circumstances of our current day. Hopefully, Florial can flash the ability that had scouts and fans excited not too long ago.