The Yankees signed Estevan Florial out of the Dominican Republic before the 2015 season and things got out of hand real quick. From the time he was in the Dominican Summer League, teams were asking the Yankees if he was available to acquire in a trade. At just 17 years old, he had tools that could turn heads, and everyone wanted him before his value blew up. Brian Cashman held fast, and now in 2017, it has paid off.
Two years in the organization saw very little to be excited about, as far as numbers went. Still, Florial’s tools remained impressive to scouts, and he continued to be a player to watch as he matured. The Yankees didn’t feel like waiting, though, and they promoted him aggressively. This meant he reached A-ball as an 18-year-old, and it’s worked for him so far thanks to his advanced approach at the plate.
In 2017, his hit tool finally came around, and he batted .298/.372/.479 between Charleston and Tampa at the age of 19. His power blossomed to a career-high 13 home runs, and he proved effective on the bases with 23 stolen bases. Florial improved the quality of the contact he generated, helping him hit more line drives and up his BABIP to over .400 on the year. The adjustments he made at the plate allowed him to make better and harder contact, which turned him into an All-Star caliber player and landed him a roster spot in the 2017 Futures Game.
Even though the season has ended, Florial has not stopped showing everyone how great of a prospect he has become. In the Arizona Fall League, he’s hit .300/.397/.400 in 13 games and just missed out on being named an All-Star. While that would have been a nice little addition to his season, what’s more important is that he’s continued to hit 120 games and 500 at-bats into the season as a teenager.
What’s most impressive about Estavan Florial is how advanced he truly is to be so highly regarded, and actually proving his worth, at such a young age. At this moment, he is the no. 3 prospect in the system and the no. 78 prospect in the game. By next season, he could be considered a top 50 prospect in all of baseball. The term “uber-prospect” has been thrown around with him, but so far it’s starting to make sense.
The Yankees have no reason to rush him, but so far he’s shown that he can handle the advanced levels. He’s the reason the Yankees were comfortable trading away outfielder Blake Rutherford at the trade deadline this season. If he can continue doing what he did in 2017, it shouldn’t be long before we see him in the majors. He will see a big test next year when he reaches Double-A for the first time.
What he will need to work on next year is improving his walk rate and lowering his strikeout rates, which aren’t even that bad for a 19-year-old. He just needs to get a better grasp of the strike zone, which he has plenty of time to do. People have been referring to him as a five-tool player, especially now that his hit tool has officially arrived. He should be ok in the long run.