Despite slow start, Florial “feeling really good” in AFL


Look at Estevan Florial‘s .169 batting average in the Arizona Fall League, and you can’t help but wonder if the broken bone in his hand he suffered this summer might still be nagging him.

No more skepticism; the source himself is here to put your mind at ease.

“I’m feeling good right now,” he said following the Fall Stars Game. He helped the West squad to a 7-6 walk-off win, in which he chimed in with a triple and a run scored.

The 20-year-old underwent surgery in May to repair a broken hamate bone in his right hand. Held out of action until July, Florial lost a couple of months of development, which is woeful for a young prospect.

The injury-plagued regular season allowed him to play in just 83 games. With most of the summer spent with the Tampa Tarpons, Florial sported a .283 batting average and .422 slugging percentage.

Courtesy of the lengthy disabled list stint, the Yankees No. 2 prospect is working back to game action with the Glendale Desert Dogs. It marks his second consecutive fall playing in Arizona.

Named to the AFL All-Prospects Team last season, Florial’s kept his same approach at the plate this time around.

“I just stay middle of the field or middle to left field, so it’s kind of the same thing all the time.”

Florial is the most highly-touted Yankees prospect playing in this league. Playing against some of the most prized prospects in baseball, he’s only displayed flashes of brilliance but has otherwise struggled in Arizona.

A snapshot of brilliance: His third inning leadoff triple in the Fall Stars Game where he somehow cruised into third base with little contest. A ball that trickles into the left-field corner often results in a standup-double, but Florial brought his 70-grade speed to life and moseyed to a three-base hit.

His struggles have been a reoccurring theme of his four-year professional career: He has trouble limiting the strikeouts.

In his first 24 at-bats with Glendale, he punched out 12 times. He has struck out in 38.5 percent of his at-bats this fall after doing so once in every four at-bats (25.7 %) with High-A Tampa in 2018.

The overall consensus regarding Florial is that striking out is part of his game. As a young, aggressive hitter, it’s something he’s going to do. But if he can limit them a bit, he is going to live up to the hype that surrounds him.

He will enter the 2019 campaign as a young 21-year-old, still a year or so away from getting a sniff of Yankee Stadium.

But there is a good reason as to why the organization, and the baseball world, is buzzing about Florial.

“It’s a blessing,” Florial said of climbing the ranks of this organization. “To be part of the New York Yankees is something I wouldn’t like to change for anything.”