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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/26/23

Florial facing what could be his last chance; ZiPS high on Volpe, Domínguez; Cortes dominates, at mini golf; Domínguez goes yard in spring opener

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Philadelphia Phillies Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports | Randy Miller: As the spring training slate begins, there’s a player who might have a better shot at the Opening Day roster than many would expect: Estevan Florial. As John also noted the other day, the outfielder is out of minor league options, which means the Yankees can’t send him to Triple-A without exposing him to waivers, where he’d likely be claimed by another team. Florial still has some of the tools that once made him a top prospect, but injuries have slowed his development over the years. He’s coming off a relatively healthy season, but he’s almost out of time to prove he should be in the Yankees’ plans.

FanGraphs | Dan Szymborksi: FanGraphs published their top 100 prospects last week, and it featured three Yankee farmhands. They also just ran their top prospects by ZiPS, and the projection system seemed fairly optimistic about the Yankees’ top talents. Four Yankees made the top 100, with pitcher Yoendrys Gómez joining the big three of Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Jasson Domínguez. Notably, that big three ranks very highly by ZiPS, even higher than by most scouts, with Volpe coming in at four, Domínguez at 21, and Peraza at 26. That the cold algorithms have Domínguez nearly in the top 20 is a bit of a surprising but highly encouraging sign. (Check out Estevão later this morning for more.) | Bryan Hoch: Hoch reports from the Yankees’ team-bonding session on Friday, as the club took to a Tiger Woods-designed mini golf course the night before their spring opener. Nestor Cortes won the competition, and noted “[That camaraderie] is definitely needed, for sure. I feel like last year we did a good job of that, and it translated all the way into the offseason, where we kept in touch with each other.”

Just as important, though, is that Cortes also threw live batting practice that day, and said his hamstring, injured a few weeks ago while running, came through just fine.

Yahoo Sports | Phillip Martinez: In case you missed it, the Yankees’ opening loss to the Phillies included some highlights, most notably a mammoth home run from Domínguez. Gleyber Torres also homered, with the infielder making some quality contact to start his spring. On the flip side, Oswaldo Cabrera misplayed a ball in the outfield, an early blemish as he tries to make a case for the starting left field job.