Estevan Florial is the New York Yankees current number three ranked prospect. He is seen as the Yankees’ potential center fielder of the future. Despite a drop in his stock, Brian Cashman’s refusal to include Florial in any trade talks shows how much the Yankee organization values his potential.
Florial’s overall numbers show a potential five-tool player. His arm will allow him to play any of the outfield positions. Also, his speed and power hint at a possible 30-30 player.
Florial’s Yankee career got off to a bit of a rocky start. A discrepancy in his birth certificate prevented Florial from signing in 2014 despite being one of the top international prospects. After a Haitian birth certificate cleared up his date of birth, he was allowed to be courted by MLB teams. In March of 2015, Florial signed with the Yankees for only $200,000 a drop in the bucket of what he could’ve signed for had he been allowed to sign a year prior.
Despite the false start, Florial quickly proved to have some of the best tools in the entire Yankees farm system. In 57 games for the Yankees DSL team, Florial flexed his all-around game. He posted a .313 BA with 70 hits including eleven doubles, eight triples, and seven home runs. His 53 RBI and 15 stolen bases were second on the team.
After a promising 2017 campaign, Florial was limited to only 84 games in 2018 due to a right wrist fracture. Yet another right wrist fracture sidelined Florial last season after getting off to a very promising start. Even though Double-A will probably be the highest level Florial will start this year, he can ill afford to lose more playing time. The hope is that he can stay healthy this season and compete for a spot on the big club next year. It is clear, however, that at 22 years old, the Yankees still have time to be patient with Florial and are not going to give up on his potential any time soon. Speaking of potential:
Yankees’ scouts are thrilled with everything Florial brings to the table. His left-handed power, speed, and raw strength have the Yankee brass thinking he could be a superstar in the future. But, there are a few hiccups with Florial’s game.
His aggressiveness at the plate causes him to strikeout, a lot. In 2019, Florial’s strikeout rate ballooned to 32.6%. That is an astronomical rate for any High-A player, much less for one seen as a top organizational prospect. Also, as the strikeouts rose, the walks dropped by a full 5%. This one flaw in Florial’s game alone could prevent him from ever reaching his full potential.
His lack of stolen bases could also be cause for concern. Despite above-average speed, Florial is not seen as a guy who will dominate on the base paths. He’s stolen only 73 bases in 392 minor league games. For a man with so much speed, he has a lot to learn about actual base stealing. However, in those same 392 games, Florial also has 73 doubles. Most MLB teams rely heavily on sabermetric principles and do not place much value on stolen bases anymore. In that world, doubles are much more valuable as a potential out wasn’t needed in order to create it. The Yankees are not known for playing much small-ball as Brett Gardner lead the Yankees with only ten stolen bases last year. Florial would only need to up his stolen base total only if that’s what the Yankees ask of him.
Estevan Florial has seen his stock fall over the last few years. His injuries and strikeout woes have caused some to doubt his future potential. However, the Yankees saw enough in Florial to place him on their 40 man roster in order to keep him under their control.
The one-time top Yankee prospect has enough in the toolbox to become one of their top players should he put all of those tools together. His left-handed stroke should play perfectly in Yankee Stadium should he make it that far. If he has a healthy year, his production should speak for itself as a healthy Florial is a very productive player.
There are a lot of ifs with Florial. But, should he put it all together, the New York Yankees will have a very talented major league player for years to come.
Amateur writer and professional nerd. Favorite teams include the New York Yankees and Ole Miss Rebels. Hit me up on twitter: @rsmorrison33