In ranking the top 100 prospects in baseball, ESPN's Keith Law believes the Yankees' top prospect isn't outfielder Estevan Florial.
Law only had one Yankee in his top prospects list -- RHP Deivi Garcia -- while Florial and outfielder Everson Pereira made Law's "Who just missed the top 10?" list.
Florial was Baseball America's highest-ranked Yankees prospect after they traded Justus Sheffield in the James Paxton deal and was listed as the Yankees' top prospect (No. 57 overall) by MLB.com. He was ranked 66th overall and the Yankees' No. 2 prospect, just behind RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (64th overall) by Baseball Prospectus.
But Law believes the 21-year-old Florial, who slashed just .255/.354/.361 in 75 games with High-A Tampa last season, has a lot of key issues he needs to correct.
"The story with Florial hasn't changed, although his 2018 season was marred by injuries, too: He doesn't recognize pitches well enough to get to his tools," wrote Law, who ranked Florial 107th and Pereira 101st. "Florial has bat speed, power, running speed, athleticism, quick twitch and all the tools that glitter, but his ability to pick up pitch types is not good enough to put him into the top 100. He also suffered from a broken hamate last year, which saps hand strength for some time after the injury has healed, and he has some mechanical issues in his swing, such as the way he can drop his back side, to iron out as well. But ultimately, this will come down to pitch recognition, and the Yankees just hired a coach, Dillon Lawson, who specializes in that precise area."
He also wrote how Pereira, 17, was close to making the top 100 list despite making his professional debut last summer with Rookie-level Pulaski, hitting .263/.322/.389 with three home runs and 26 RBIs in 41 games.
"Pereira struggled with contact, striking out in nearly a third of his at-bats, but showed great instincts in center and flashes of the plus raw power and 60 speed that marked him as a top prospect before he signed," Law wrote. "He was so young to be at that level that his performance doesn't tell us that much, but the raw tools and the fact that he still hit .263/.322/.389 despite his youth mark him as a potential top-50 guy for next year."
But Law did not omit any Yankees from his list. He ranked the 19-year-old Garcia, who reached Double-A Trenton last season but spent most of his time with Single-A Charleston and Tampa, 61st overall and compared him to Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, mostly because of Garcia's 5-foot-10 frame.
"Garcia has an easy low-90s fastball that sits 92 to 94 mph and sneaks up on hitters, while his bread and butter is his hammer curveball that's at least a 60-grade pitch now and could be more," Law wrote.
"Scouts love his competitiveness, and even though he is small, he is aggressive and attacks hitters in the zone. When the Yankees promoted him to High-A in August, he no-hit Clearwater over seven innings in his first outing, striking out six of the first seven batters he faced. His changeup is his third pitch but should be at least average. ... Garcia's delivery is simple, a little heavy on the arm with a moderately short stride, but he repeats it and has no problem throwing all his pitches for strikes."