As the Arizona Fall League slate drew to a close on Thursday afternoon, the position prospects that represented the Yankees organization for Manager Jay Bell and the Scottsdale Scorpions leave the desert having left a patent impression amongst baseball insiders and evaluators. Here is how they fared:
Thairo Estrada: The 21-year old infielder was the most consistent player for a 92-win Trenton team in his first season at the Double-A level in 2017. Estrada was an Eastern League all-star and slashed .301/.353/.392 in his first taste of the minor league’s upper levels. With an advanced approach at the plate and the versatility to play above average defense at both middle-infield positions makes Estrada a near-lock to be added to the Yankees 40-man roster ahead of Monday’s deadline to protect players from December’s Rule 5 draft.
During his stint in the AFL, Estrada finished eighth overall in hitting with a .342 average and tied for fourth in the league in hits with 27 in 20 games for the Scorpions. A recent report filed by Mike Rosenbaum on MLB Pipeline listed Estrada as one of the ten players who stood out to him during his nine-day tour of the AFL.
Billy McKinney: Similar to Estrada, McKinney is Rule 5 eligible and is almost assuredly going to be added to the Yankees 40-man roster in the coming days. Acquired from the Cubs as part of the infamous haul for Aroldis Chapman at last seasons trade deadline, McKinney has largely been a highly touted prospect who has failed to live up to the hype that has followed him for the majority of his career. In a season that was essentially a make or break campaign for the outfielder, McKinney began 2017 with Trenton and hit just .250 with six homers in 69 games for the Thunder.
Upon being promoted to Triple-A for the first time in his career in late June, the 23-year old McKinney proceeded to slash .306/.336/.541 with 10 homers and 35 RBI in just 55 games for SWB. Hoping to increase his value and versatility to the big league club, the Bombers summoned McKinney to the AFL get him reps at first base where he appeared to have no trouble making that transition. In 19 games for Scottsdale, McKinney finished second in the league in RBI with 20 while slashing .279/.373/.426. You can read about McKinney and his thoughts on making the transition to first base here.
Estevan Florial: The ripe 19-year old Florial has all of the necessary tools to be a multi-time MLB all-star in the not too distant future. The Yankees think so highly of the young outfielder that they opted to hold onto him and deal other highly touted outfield prospects like Blake Rutherford, Dustin Fowler, and Tito Polo at the trade deadline to bolster their big league club.
The Haitian native slashed .298/.372/.479 with 13 homers and 57 RBI with 23 stolen bases in 110 games between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa; Florial ended his season in Trenton after being promoted to help the Thunder in their run to the ELCS. In 19 games for Scottsdale in the AFL, Florial slashed a respectable .286/.383/.414, but struck out a team-high 29 times in just 70 at-bats. You can read about Florial and his quest to improve his plate discipline in the AFL here.
Kyle Holder: Known mostly or his flashy leather around the infield, the 2015 first-round draft selection out of the University of San Diego hit .271 with a career-high four homers and 44 RBI in 104 games with Tampa. The now 23-year old Holder finished his AFL campaign by finishing third on the team in hitting with a .333 average while striking out just four times in 11 games spanning 45 at-bats for Scottsdale. You can read our report on Holder putting things together in the AFL here.
Be sure to log onto Pinstriped Prospects on Saturday morning for our report on how the Yankees pitching prospects performed in the AFL.