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It's Time For Yankees to Make a Decision With Estevan Florial

Florial has been on a roll in Triple-A this year, putting pressure on the Yankees to either promote the outfielder or trade him away.

Estevan Florial's value won't get any higher than it is right now. 

The outfielder has endured a steep decline since he was the Yankees' top prospect in 2019. He's been slowly working his way up in the minors, striking out far too often while intermittently tasting the big leagues, called up for a total of 16 games over the last three years. 

It's been a different story for the 24-year-old this year, though. Florial is hitting  .308/.384/.521 with 10 home runs, 29 RBI, 41 runs scored and 26 stolen bases across 62 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. 

In the last week alone, including Monday in Worcester, Florial is hitting .480 (12-for-25) with five homers, eight RBI, 11 runs and four doubles. On Tuesday, Florial was recognized as the International League Player of the Week for his performance over six games against the Buffalo Bisons (from June 27 through July 3).

After Florial (and countless prospects across Major League Baseball) lost a season of development during the pandemic, the outfielder began the 2021 season in Double-A to resume his progression in the farm system. It was clear New York wanted him to get reps playing every day, working on his high strikeout rate and inconsistencies on offense.

Well, the results are starting to show. The strikeouts are still there (80 in 62 games in 2022 after 121 punch outs in 87 contests a year ago), but this offensive production is what New York has been dreaming of for years. Besides, strikeouts are a part of the game these days. If he's playing quality defense, swiping bags and hitting the ball out of the ballpark, you can't ask for much more than that, right?

That's why the time is now to act with Florial. 

The Yankees have two options.

One, give Florial a shot in the big leagues. He's earned a promotion and New York has a clear hole in the outfield right now with how poorly Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks have played. 

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Florial, who turns 25 this offseason, isn't getting any younger. Eventually, he'll be out of options. What better time than now, as he swings a scorching-hot bat, to give him some run in pinstripes and see if those strides translate at the next level.

New York hasn't shown a willingness to give a player like Florial a shot in the Bronx this season. The same can be said about Miguel Andújar, who recently requested a trade due to his inability to secure playing time with the big-league club. Andújar has been just as good in Triple-A and unlike Florial, actually has a track record in the Majors. 

New York invested four prospects in acquiring Gallo last summer and he's a good defender that has elite plate discipline, so it makes sense that they're sticking with him to a certain extent. His numbers overall are grotesque, though. It's hard to picture him playing a role down the stretch or in the postseason.

The other option is to trade Florial.

The deadline is coming up in less than a month and Florial's progress in Triple-A might intrigue some teams that are selling at the deadline. If the Yankees aren't going to call him up at any point, and he doesn't factor into their plans in the future, then the time to move him is now when he's playing like this.

The organization has made it clear publicly that they think highly of Florial. Last spring, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called the slugger an "All-Star-caliber talent," a prospect that "has all the tools to be a special player."

If that's true, let's see what he can do. Maybe he can stick around and earn a spot on this team's roster for the 2023 season and beyond. Otherwise, give him a shot somewhere else, flipping him for a proven commodity that can help this team contend for a championship in 2022.


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