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Is Estevan Florial ‘a young Bernie Williams’ or a future bust?

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When the prospect rankers began unveiling their annual lists of baseball’s best up-and-comers, a common theme emerged regarding one of the New York Yankees’ prized players.

Estevan Florial, long considered among the top talents in the Yankees’ farm system, had fallen in the eyes of national prognosticators. Rated by some to be a top-50 prospect in 2018, Florial found himself below that entering 2019.

ESPN’s Keith Law, troubled only in part by the more than two-month injury from a broken hamate bone Florial endured last year, again had him just outside of his top 100.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

All of which raises the questions: Is the 21-year-old center fielder still a rising star? Has the flame around the Bombers’ former No. 1 prospect burned out?

The Yankees, for their part, say Florial is shining brighter than ever.3

“He’s got as high a ceiling as just about anyone in that clubhouse,” manager Aaron Boone said earlier this spring. “Nothing’s changed there.”

Added veteran outfielder Brett Gardner: “As talented as he is, it’s not going to be long before we see him put it all together.

“He’s got a bright career ahead of him for sure.”

The proof of that, the Yankees believe, rests with how Florial has performed both this spring and last.

A year ago, the outfielder showcased his best asset — his speed — by racing around the bases to the tune of three triples in 21 spring training games. His range in the field caught attention, as did the work he put in behind the scenes.

Fast-forward to this spring, and the Yankees say they believe there’s even more reason for optimism.

Entering play this week, Florial had a .333 batting average with a .926 OPS, a home run, four RBIs and four stolen bases through only 10 spring training games. Although he still had seven strikeouts and only two walks, his pitch recognition — one area where he has struggled in the past — has generally improved.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“[I’m] trying to get more control of the strike zone,” Florial said at the start of the spring.

A prime example of that came on one swing Florial had last Thursday in a game against the Phillies in nearby Clearwater. With two on in the top of the sixth, he made a midswing adjustment to a pitch riding middle-in, and stroked a hard liner over the wall in left-center.

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