The early days of spring training are always an interesting time to watch prospects. Cuts haven’t been made yet and many of the veterans are still taking their time getting into game shape. It’s the perfect time for the young guys to get a chance, even if they aren’t making the team this year. One prospect who will likely get a little more time than most is Estevan Florial, and so far he’s showing the Yankees every little bit of what he can do.
In just eight games and 16 plate appearances, Florial has hit .286/.375/.714 with two RBI, a stolen base, and two walks. He’s also managed to hit three triples already, which makes him especially fun to watch in the early goings here. What’s more is that he’s actually been able to get some of those hits off brand names. He’s just 20 and is already rocking the likes of Pat Neshek and Kyle Crick. Neither of them are stars, but these aren’t nobodies either.
It’s not that one week of action will prove to the Yankees that he’s ready for the majors—because he’s not—but it does give the team and the fans an idea of what he could offer at the big league level one day. Ranked as the no. 3 prospect in the Yankees farm system, Florial has shown to be a potential five-tool player. He’s currently hitting for both power and average, he can run pretty well, and we know that his defensive capabilities are up there.
Despite signing for a $200,000 bonus before the 2015 season as a relative unknown, Brian Cashman has been fighting off offers from other teams since he was hitting the ball in the Dominican Summer League. While his defense has never been a question, it’s his bat that needed to show improvement. After a somewhat rough transition to America in 2016, Florial has been doing it all. In 2017, he hit 13 home runs, stole 23 bases, walked 50 times, and hit for a .298 batting average.
It would have bee easy to believe that this was his peak, and that they should have traded him while his value was up. They did the exact same thing with Jorge Mateo in the Sonny Gray deal. However, there’s a big difference between Estevan Florial and Mateo, and that’s their age. While Mateo found success as a 22-year-old in Double-A Trenton, Florial was doing even better at the age of 19 in High-A Tampa. Most of Mateo’s value is in his legs, and some believe his hit tool may never show up, but Florial can do so much more.
There will come a day when Estevan Florial will be cut from big league camp. It may not be the first round of cuts, but it will happen sooner than later. He’s only 20 and about to hit the upper levels of the system for the first time, so there’s still a lot of time left for him to develop. One thing to keep an eye on is his strikeout numbers. He’s already struck out five times this spring and whiffed a staggering 124 times (31.9%) in Low-A last year. He’s still young and wild, so he has some things to work on.
For now, just sit back and watch a promising talent turn into a true star prospect. The Yankees may have Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, but there will be room for younger talent soon enough. Florial may not have the same chance at making the club that someone like Miguel Andujar has, but he’s certainly playing like it. That’s all you can ask for at this point in the spring.