Estevan Florial was frustrated, but he had to speak with his bat instead of his mouth.
The former Yankees top prospect destroyed Triple-A competition with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
His .945 OPS ranked fourth and his 28 home runs were sixth in the International League.
He also played solid center field.
And then he watched his teammates and fellow outfielders, such as Franchy Cordero, Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney, Willie Calhoun and eventually Everson Pereira and Jasson Dominguez, first receive call-ups to the majors.
“Complaining wasn’t going to solve anything. It wasn’t going to do anything to help,” Florial said this week. “The only thing you can do is prove what type of player you are.”
Florial continued to play, proved himself at the highest level of the minor leagues and is now trying to do the same – in a hurry – before the major league season ends.
He was finally called up on September 11, after Dominguez suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, and showed flashes – but not prolonged – of production in his last attempt to suit up for the major league pitching.
Once a highly appreciated and equipped prospect, Florial, now 25 years old, never put everything together and did not always reach the highest level. He entered play Friday with a career .191 major league average and .582 OPS through his first 100 plate appearances. He’s had brief opportunities he hasn’t run with in 2020, 2021, 2022 and now this season.
But he was also the Yankees’ leadoff hitter Friday, a nod both to the team wanting to see more of his at-bats and to Florial starting to show more with his at-bats.
On Thursday, Florial drew an eight-pitch walk and had an RBI double against Toronto left-hander Tim Mayza – Florial’s first career RBI against a southpaw.
After his 10th major league game this season, his on-base percentage was .351.
“I thought he did a good job seeing the pitches here,” manager Aaron Boone said before Florial went 2 for 5 with an RBI in the Yankees’ 7-1 win over the Diamondbacks. “He’s settled into the base a little bit, which has been good.”
Seeing pitches and swinging at good ones has been a priority for Florial, whose emergence at Triple-A coincided with him walking a little more and striking out a little less. A better ability to ignore pitches out of the strike zone and take his walks showed up in the majors, and he had five walks in his first 37 plate appearances this season, an improved rate of 13 .5 percent.
Florial said he has changed a lot, mostly in his approach rather than his swing, since his last major league shot, in September 2022.
“There’s a lot going on,” Florial said. “The approach…I learned and adapted throughout the year.”
Making better decisions about when to swing has helped Florial nearly double his home run count, going from 15 in 101 games with SWB last year to 28 in the same number of games this year. Getting this production to the majors has always been an obstacle.
Florial has eight more games to prove that he should survive the offseason on the 40-man roster, and to prove that he could at least be a contender for a center field spot next season, with Dominguez on the point of missing an important part of the match. the year.
It’s not much time, but Florial intends to take advantage of it.
“Every time you come in, there’s a try,” Florial said. “Every time you go out on the field, it’s like: show people what you can do and what you’re capable of.”
So far, he has shown the Yankees that he can patrol the outfield well, has good power and speed, but also swings and misses too much. His at-bats have improved, which is a start.
“The competitive at-bats have been more consistent than we’ve seen before at this level,” Boone said.
New York Post