Cleveland Guardians: Estevan Florial is on borrowed time

Cleveland Guardians v Oakland Athletics
Cleveland Guardians v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Of all the possible outcomes for Estevan Florial in a Cleveland Guardians uniform, pretty much all of them had him being a non-factor at the plate more often than not while carrying a strikeout rate that would have the most pro-Florial individuals become concerned about his viability. Well, that has been the case for Florial so far, which is making it incredibly hard to justify his roster spot for much longer.

With 10 hits in 45 at-bats, Florial has performed as expected, with his current slash line (.222/.314/.444) holding a slight edge over his career average (213/.314/.338). Five of his hits have gone for extra-base, with two home runs, two doubles, and one triple, which is giving him an unexpected boost in the slugging department, but there is still not really enough production coming from Florial for his spot on the roster to be guaranteed. 

Florial is striking out over 40% of the time this season, which is simply unacceptable. This would be a little bit easier to digest if Florial was a premier home run hitter, but his two home runs this year have set a new career high, eclipsing his previous high of one, which came in the 2021 season. Striking out a high rate can be acceptable if the player makes up for it in power production, but it does not seem like his output in that area is ever going to be consistent enough to warrant being in the lineup on a regular basis. 

Many have been intrigued with Florial's ability to hit the ball hard, which is great, but if he is continuing to strike out at a high rate and failing to make enough contact, the few times he actually does hit the ball hard matter even less, especially if they are not resulting in a hit or driving in a run. This is not a new phenomenon when it comes to players the Guardians have given at-bats to with the hope they can produce power numbers on a consistent basis, as everyone can remember former prospect Bobby Bradley. Bradley and Florial are not that different. Both have power potential and can hit the ball hard, but strike out way too much to make any sort of meaningful impact at the major league level. 

Now, many are probably wondering why Florial is being singled out here instead of someone like Ramon Laureano. It is pretty simple, actually. Despite his early season struggles, Laureano has proven over his career to be a better major league hitter than Florial. Additionally, every one of Laureano's appearances in 2024 has come in the field, while less than half of Florial's have not been as the Guardians' designated hitter. Having someone who can play in the outfield on a regular basis rather than clog up a DH spot is much more useful. 

Is there a world where Florial retains a spot on this roster much longer than he should? Yes, but that does not mean it should happen. Florial is running out of chances to show he is anything more than a Quad-A hitter and could be removed from the equation upon the call-up of much more promising bats that are currently waiting their turn in the minors.