When it comes to tools, there aren't many prospects in the Yankees' farm system with more potential than outfielder Estevan Florial.
Through the first week of the minor league season, Florial is showing exactly what he's capable of.
In six games with the Somerset Patriots—New York's Double-A affiliate—Florial is hitting .318/.400/.955 with four home runs. He has seven base hits in 22 at-bats with five runs, two doubles and six RBI.
Those four bombs weren't wall-scrapers either.
Florial made his big-league debut last summer, playing in one game at Yankee Stadium before a quick demotion back to the alternate site.
As Yankees manager Aaron Boone noted last week, Florial has been with the big-league club during spring training every year since 2018, continuing to show flashes of what makes him a top prospect.
"He's a beloved guy in that room and has a lot of people in the organization and players that are really pulling for him and know what his ceiling is, know how good he can be, know what the tools suggest," Boone said.
Florial is the kind of player that can benefit from a full season in the minors, a chance to grow while getting in-game reps and at-bats each and every day.
A few weeks ago, Yankees senior director of player development, Kevin Reese, explained that the organization elected to place Florial in Double-A in hopes of shifting his progression back to normal after losing last season to the pandemic. Florial has also battled some freak injuries over the past several seasons, preventing him from getting a complete workload and stunting his development
That said, Reese added that Florial falls in the category of prospects that can potentially make the jump to Triple-A, and even the big leagues, at some point in 2021. There's an argument to letting the 23-year-old continue to develop before getting to the big leagues for another season, though.
Turning 24 in November, you'd like Florial to stay in the majors once he gets called up. Depending on injuries and performance ahead of him, however, there might not be a spot in the Bronx for Florial until next year and beyond either way.
That doesn't mean Boone and the Yankees aren't excited about the outfielder and what he can bring to this roster once he's ready to contribute.
“He’s a five-tool, he’s an All-Star-caliber talent,” Boone said. “A guy that can legitimately play center field, fly, power to all fields. He certainly has all the tools to be a special player. It’s about putting those together and now having it show up in performance and consistency.”
Florial has gotten off to a tremendous start, but keep an eye on his strikeout numbers as the season continues. In those six games, he's punched out six times. Beyond injuries and last year's lost season due to COVID-19, Florial's propensity to swing and miss has been a huge factor in his outlook as a top prospect.
The home run numbers are certainly nice, and early on he looks to be taking steps in the right direction, but he'll need to continue to limit that part of his game if he wants to trade in his Patriots uniform for pinstripes.
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