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Yankees prospect profiles | Estevan Florial

Gary Phillips

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Aug 3, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Tampa Yankees center fielder Estevan Florial (34) singles in a run in the first inning against the St. Lucie Mets at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 season was a special one for the New York Yankees. The team received an injection of youth that had been missing in years past.

The Baby Bombers, a group consisting of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Greg Bird and more, exceeded expectations. So did the Yankees. A team playing well beyond its years came within one game of the World Series. The kids, as they say, are alright.

The scary thing is, there are more coming. As though the future didn’t look bright enough in the Bronx after a surprising 2017 season, the Yankees still have one of the best farm systems in baseball. With so many more Baby Bombers in waiting, we at FanRag Sports thought it would be fun to take a look at one each week to pass the offseason.

The last profile focused on hurler Domingo Acevedo. This week we’ll head to the outfield and look at Estevan Florial.

Background

The No. 3 prospect in New York’s farm system and a part of MLB.com’s Top 100 list, some are already calling Florial the “next great Yankee.” Just 20 years old, he has yet to play above High-A ball, but he’s currently enjoying his first big league spring training.

He can play all three outfield positions but has mostly spent time in center.

Florial joined the Yankee organization in 2015, signing for a bargain $200,000 after an identity discrepancy ruled him ineligible to sign the year before. While he still has a way to go before reaching the majors, the Dominican native has established himself as the most prized outfielder in a Yankee system full of them. The consensus is that he is currently untouchable.

That’s because of his impressive tools. When it comes to speed, power and arm strength, Florial grades incredibly well. Here’s MLB.com’s scouting report on him:

“Lean and athletic, he has well above-average raw power and arm strength as well as plus speed. A left-handed hitter built for Yankee Stadium, he uses the entire field but will need to temper his aggressive approach…

“Florial knows how to use his speed, already showing some base-stealing savvy and taking direct routes in center field. He also would easily fit the profile in right field if needed. The Yankees love his makeup as much as his physical gifts and are confident he’ll get the most out of his considerable offensive ability.”

What he has done

Florial made a strong first impression playing for the Yankees’ Dominican Summer League team in 2015, slashing .313/.394/.527 with seven homers, 53 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. After that, he split 2016 among Rookie ball, Single-A and High-A. He struggled in 2016, though, hitting .227, yet he still showed his pop and speed.

Last season, however, put Florial atop a loaded Yankee farm system. Playing 110 games between Single-A and High-A, he hit .298/.372/.479 with 13 homers, 57 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. He struck out too many times (148), but Florial made it clear what kind of talent the Yankees have on their hands.

He had a quiet Arizona Fall League after that, but the statement had already been made.

2018 possibilities

Florial is not going to play in the major leagues in 2018 — he still has to get through Double- and Triple-A — but he is poised to be the focus of New York’s minor leagues.

Once Gleyber Torres is on the Yankees’ big league roster, Florial will be one of the most-watched prospects the Yankees have. As he continues to work his way up, he’ll need to cut back on the strikeouts while at the same time adding some patience.

Expect him to start the year in Trenton if he shines in spring training.

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Gary Phillips is the Managing Editor of USA Today Sports' Jets Wire, a contributor at Sporting News and a columnist at FanRag Sports. Phillips has experience with The Athletic, The Bergen Record, CNBC, NBC News, Bleacher Report, NJ.com, The Journal Inquirer and The Journal News. A journalism graduate of Seton Hall, Class of 2017, he was Editor-in-Chief of The Setonian, the university's award-winning student newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @GaryHPhillips.

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