The Yankees announced Monday that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder Estevan Florial from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Fellow outfielder Jasson Dominguez, who was recently diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, was placed on the 10-day injured list to open a spot on the active roster. The Yankees already had a vacancy on their 40-man roster, which is now at capacity.
Florial, 25, was once considered among the Yankees’ best prospects but has seen his stock tumble enough in recent years that he went unclaimed on waivers early in the season. He’s received just 63 plate appearances in the Majors and has a tepid .185/.302/.278 slash in that time, although his numbers in Triple-A are far better. Florial hit .283/.368/.481 with 15 homers and 39 steals with Scranton in 2022 and is having a similarly eye-catching year in 2023: .284/.380/.565, 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases.
Impressive as the raw rate stats and counting numbers are, questions about Florial’s hit tool have persisted for some time now, and his strikeout rates in Triple-A remain a pronounced red flag. Florial punched out in 30.4% of his Triple-A plate appearances last year and is currently sitting on a nearly identical 29.9% strikeout rate in 2023. He’s walked in more than 12% of his plate appearances over the past two seasons as well, but the penchant for strikeouts is nonetheless concerning. That Florial wasn’t claimed earlier this season and that he was continually passed over for journeymen like Jake Bauers, Willie Calhoun, Billy McKinney and Greg Allen in 2023 at least strongly implies that the Yankees and other clubs share in those concerns.
With Dominguez now out for the season, the Yankees will finally give Florial a look in the big leagues. He’s already been jettisoned from the 40-man roster once despite strong Triple-A output, so this could well be something of a last chance for the out-of-options former top prospect to prove to the organization that he ought to stick in the Majors. If he’s removed from the 40-man roster a second time, he’ll have the right to elect free agency. For now, the Yankees will mix Florial into the outfield alongside reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge, prospect Everson Pereira, utilityman Oswaldo Cabrera and the aforementioned Bauers.