Yankees invite Florial to spring camp

No. 57 prospect hoping to improve contact, reach high ceiling

Estevan Florial has a career .814 OPS over four Minor League seasons. (Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | February 1, 2019 1:30 PM

The Yankees are hoping to see Estevan Florial's good side this spring.

New York invited MLB.com's No. 57 overall prospect to Major League Spring Training camp along with 20 other non-roster invites, the club announced Friday.

Florial is a Top-100 prospect due to his plus speed, fielding and arm strength -- all of which come in handy in center field.

However, the 21-year-old left-handed hitter's play at the plate raises questions about his potential. The Dominican Republic native has struggled to make consistent contact in his last two Minor League seasons, notably striking out in 25.7 percent of his plate appearances with Class A Advanced Tampa in 2018. He had a .255/.354/.361 line with three homers and 11 stolen bases in 75 Florida State League games. He was sidelined for nearly two months by a broken hamate bone suffered in mid-May. Florial made up the lost time in the Arizona Fall League but didn't fare much better offensively, posting a .179/.236/.244 line with 29 strikeouts over 21 games.

The possibility that Florial could develop into a five-tool outfielder remains tantalizing for New York, though, and he returns to Spring Training camp in Tampa as the club's top prospect.

No. 22 Michael King was the only other prospect ranked among the Yankees' top 30 to receive an invitation. The 23-year-old right-hander led the farm system with a 1.79 ERA, 152 strikeouts and 0.91 WHIP over 161 1/3 innings between Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year.

The other non-roster invitees are outfielder Trey Amburgey, left-hander Rex Brothers, outfielder Billy Burns, left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr., right-hander Cale Coshow, left-hander Danny Coulombe, catcher Kellin Deglan, catcher Francisco Diaz, right-hander Raynel Espinal, right-hander Danny Farquhar, first baseman Mike Ford, right-hander David Hale, infielder Kyle Holder, right-hander Drew Hutchison, right-hander Brady Lail, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, outfielder Matt Lipka, catcher Jorge Saez and infielder Gio Urshela.

Pitchers and catchers are expected to report to Yankees camp on Feb. 13 with position players arriving in Tampa five days later.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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