MLB Prospect Watch: Estevan Florial returns and poses interesting question for Yankees ahead of trade deadline

Injuries have so ravaged the Yankees this season that they've even interfered with their farm system. Outfielder Estevan Florial, arguably the best prospect in the organization, returned last week after missing the first two months of the season due to a non-displaced wrist fracture. Florial had also missed considerable time in 2018 after undergoing surgery on the same wrist.

While Florial's past two seasons haven't gone according to plan, he's an important piece of the puzzle as it pertains to their potential deadline plans. His name has littered trade talks in the past, and he figures to serve as one of the top asks by other teams heading into the deadline.

What makes Florial so intriguing is that he has the chance to develop into a superstar-caliber player. He can run, he can field, and he can throw. The question with Florial -- well, besides whether his body will oblige -- is how much will he hit?

Florial has the raw traits to become a good hitter, including the necessary bat speed and strength. His approach at the plate could use some refinement, however, as last season he struck out in more than a quarter of his plate appearances without offering much pop.

Florial has missed considerable time over the last year, and that makes projecting him more difficult. If he can make the necessary adjustments, it's possible he's a five-tool center fielder; if not, he's still likely to contribute at the big-league level, just not to the same extent.

The Yankees and those teams interested in acquiring Florial will have to figure out how they project him in the coming weeks. Depending on where everyone falls, he could be one of the biggest names worth watching heading into the deadline.

For a look at which prospects you should be targeting in fantasy baseball, check out our colleague Scott White's take.   

Now, onto the Watch.

Prospect watch

Jazz Chisholm's overall line in Double-A isn't encouraging (he has a .717 OPS), but he has launched 13 home runs this season as a 21-year-old shortstop. Keep in mind that's about three years younger than the average batter.

Now that Austin Riley is in the majors, outfielder Trey Harris is Atlanta's top performing minor-league hitter. A 32nd-round pick last June, he's a good story -- albeit one whose production should be viewed in the context of him being a 23-year-old in the low minors.

A-ball shortstop Adam Hall has swiped 16 bases on 20 tries. His secret? Above-average footspeed and top-notch baserunning instincts. 

Bryan Mata is one to watch: He's fanned 36 batters in 34 innings at High-A and has the chance to develop three average or better offerings.

Aramis Ademan doesn't receive as much attention as fellow shortstop prospect Nico Hoerner does, but he's holding his own as a 20-year-old in High-A by reaching base more than 39 percent of the time.

Outfielder Luis Robert continues to hit at the Double-A level, and should be debuting in the majors well before summer 2020 -- that is barring some service-time manipulation on Chicago's part.

Mike Siani's name came up during the draft when his brother was selected. As for Mike, he hasn't taken to A-ball as well as hoped. If he can get back on track his glove and legs could make him at least a reserve outfielder.

Two names to watch for when rookie balls gets rolling: shortstop Brayan Rocchio and outfielder George Valera. Their progress could make this system look much, much better in due time.

It's always tough to evaluate pitchers in the Rockies system, given they're exposed to some of the most offensive-friendly environments in the game. That established, left-hander Ryan Rolison looks like he's about ready for a promotion to Double-A. He's fanned 57 batters in 51 innings as compared to 12 walks and 47 hits.

The Tigers have a few Triple-A outfielders who could debut over the next year or so. One who doesn't get much attention is Daniel Woodrow. He's unlikely to hit enough to start (and he can't throw well enough to play right), but he can fly on the basepaths. 

Right-hander Cristian Javier is yet another high-minors arm with a riding fastball and deep arsenal. Houston could cash in some of their surplus of arms at the deadline.

The Royals love their speedsters. Outfielder Michael Gigliotti isn't going to hit for power, but his legs and his on-base skills give him a legit chance at a big-league future. 

The Angels don't have the deepest system, but here's a name for you: left-hander Hector Yan, who has fanned 66 batters in 44 A-ball innings.

At some point this season, we might see Edwin Rios fill a bench role for the Dodgers. His pop should play.

Edward Cabrera has a big-time fastball. So far this season he's struck out 60 batters in 47 innings while permitting 30 hits and 16 walks. He's given up just a single home run. He's one to watch in Miami's system.

Drew Rasmussen has a pair of elbow operations in his past, but he's making quick work of the minors and could debut for the Brewers before season's end if they want to get aggressive -- and, perhaps, use him in a bullpen role.

The Twins acquired Jhoan Duran from the Diamondbacks in last year's Eduardo Escobar trade. He has a big arm and is dominating High-A batters, and as such is one of the top pitching prospects in the system.

Third baseman Will Toffey, acquired in the Jeurys Familia trade, hasn't shown much power. He is reaching base nearly 39 percent of the time in Double-A, however, so that's a plus.

As we mentioned in the header, Estevan Florial is back for the Yankees. His greatest value to them could be as a trade chit.

Shortstop Jeremy Eierman can run, field, throw, and hit balls a long way. He needs to improve his approach at the plate to fulfill his upside as a starting infielder.

Former first-round pick Cornelius Randolph hasn't shown much reason for hope in Double-A.

Kevin Kramer deserves to be on someone's big-league roster. He can do a little of everything and should got an opportunity to at least serve in a platoon or utility role heading into next season.

Luis Patino has the chance to be the next big thing in the Padres system.

Sean Hjelle is probably best known for being the tall pitcher -- he's listed at 6-foot-11 -- but his well-rounded arsenal ought to provide him the opportunity to fit in near the back of a rotation. He's done well in his first couple starts at High-A and at this rate could debut in the majors late next season or early in 2021.

It's unclear what more Jake Fraley has to do in order to earn a promotion.

Randy Arozarena could have four average tools (everything but power) and is holding his own in Double-A. He profiles as at least a reserve at the big-league level.

Here's hoping Brent Honeywell can make a quick and full recovery from his fractured elbow.

Eli White should get the call at some point this season. He has the chance to be a starting-caliber player if his on-base skills translate to the majors. At minimum, he should be a utility type with wheels and an above-average glove.

Speaking of former collegiate infielders, Logan Warmoth is doing his thing in High-A. He too should reach the majors as at least a bench player.

Kyle Johnston has struggled in High-A but his fastball-slider combination could make him a solid reliever in due time.
CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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