Power Surge Elevates Dustin Fowler
Center fielder Dustin Fowler hit .292/.329/.536 through 68 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and led the International League with 39 extra-base hits. He also was a call away from New York if help was needed.
Since being drafted in the 18th round in 2013 out of West Laurens High in Dexter, Ga., the lefthanded batter has been viewed by the Yankees as an above-average defensive center fielder with plus speed. But until the middle of last year they questioned Fowler's power. "The one thing we hadn’t seen was the emergence of power," vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring said. "He is an athletic kid, but last June the power wasn’t there. Then he started to hit home runs. Now that combination of power and defensive skill in center field is a good thing. His emergence has made a lot of people happy."
Biggest Leap Forward
Low Class A Charleston outfielder Estevan Florial probably won't have trouble cracking the organization's Top 10 Prospects ranking this offseason.
After Florial spent most of 2016 at Rookie-level Pulaski, the Yankees sent the 19-year-old native of Haiti to the South Atlantic League this year. The lefthanded-hitting center fielder responded by batting .310/.384/.528 in 65 games with 10 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 19 attempts.
"He is going to be an above-average center fielder with an above-average arm. On a 20-80 scale, he is a 70. Maybe an 80," Naehring said of Florial, whose career got off to a shaky start because of a move from Haiti to the Dominican Republic when he was a youngster that resulted in an identity mishap. "He has power to all fields."
Florial signed for $200,000 in 2015. While admitting that Florial can still improve his strikeout rate—it's 30 percent this year—Naehring says Florial is the type of player scouts can’t keep their eyes off.
Baseball America Spring Training Prospect Report -- March 13, 2020
On a wild day in sports, three players particularly stood out in their spring training games.
"You go to his games and he catches your eye," Naehring said. "Does he have some things to clean up? Absolutely, but he is fun to watch."