Florial hoping to help Thunder win a title

Florial hoping to help Thunder win a title

At the start of the season, Estevan Florial says he couldn't have fathomed that he'd end the year with the organization's Double-A club. Now, the uber-talented prospect has a chance to help the Trenton Thunder capture the Eastern League Championship following the team's best regular season ever (92-48) and a whirlwind of a week for the 19-year-old.

Florial's impressive 91-game stint with Class A Charleston led to a promotion to Class A Advanced Tampa, where he slashed .303/.368/.461 in the final 19 games of the regular season. After hitting .400 in three postseason games with Tampa, the Yankees' No. 4 prospect (No. 84 overall) was sent to Trenton after Class A Advanced Dunedin eliminated Tampa in the Florida State League playoffs just before Hurricane Irma hit Florida.

"I didn't imagine I was going to be here, so ... when the manager called and said 'Hey man, you're going to [Trenton],' I was very happy to be here," Florial said before the opening game of the Eastern League Championship Series against Double-A Altoona. "I'm going to be here to try to help the team win."

Florial isn't in the starting lineup for the Tuesday, but could make his Double-A debut as a pinch-runner. Trenton's game 1 lineup features two top 30 prospects, No. 9 Nick Solak and No. 18 Thairo Estrada. In addition, No. 14 Dillon Tate and No. 5 Justus Sheffield are scheduled to start Games 1 and 2 for the Thunder.

Florial joined up with some of the game's best prospects, including Yoan Moncada, Amed Rosario, Victor Robles, Ronald Acuna, Rafael Devers and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., on Team World in the Futures Game. He went 0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored in the game.

"To go there to represent the Yankees, it was an awesome experience for me to be part of that team too," he said.

It wouldn't have been shocking if Florial slumped at some point during the season, as he was the subject of countless trade rumors prior to the July 31 non-waiver Deadline, but he said he didn't let the rumors affect him.

"I tried not to worry about it because even if I think about it I can't do anything about it," Florial said. "So the only thing I can do is try to to do the best I can do. As a player, we can't control that."

After the Minor League season ends, Florial will join Estrada, Tate and Sheffield in the Arizona Fall League, where he says he'll work on improving his baserunning and defense, along with all other facets of his game.

It appears that the Yankees' next Baby Bomber is well ahead of schedule.

Matt Castello is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @matt_castello. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.