Between their early-season struggles and the Boston Red Sox’s hot start, the New York Yankees might be forced to make some notable roster moves in their quest for an AL East title. Players who are already in the organization could become key contributors during the 2021 season. 

Estevan Florial is near the top of the list of Yankees’ prospects to watch. The center fielder has thrived in the young minor-league season and would fill a potential area of need for New York’s big-league squad.

The Yankees have lacked outfield production. Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks are all hitting at or below a .200 average. New York’s outfield depth took a hit when the team traded Mike Tauchman for reliever Wandy Peralta.

Florial is hitting .318/.400/.955 with four home runs in six games with the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate. The 23-year-old is among New York’s most talented prospects, but he suffered serious injuries in both 2018 and 2019. The pandemic prevented Florial from competing in the minors last year. 

“He’s a five-tool. He’s an All-Star-caliber talent,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters over the weekend. “A guy that can legitimately play center field, fly, power to all fields. He certainly has all the tools to be a special player. It’s about putting those together and now having it show up in performance and consistency.”

Florial was once ranked among the sport’s top 50 prospects. MLB.com now ranks Florial among the Yankees’ No. 10 prospects. 

New York has extremely high hopes for outfielder Jasson Dominquez. But the club’s No. 1 prospect is only 18 years old and a few seasons away from joining the major-league roster.

The Yankees’ No. 2 prospect is expected to help New York at some point in 2021. Pitcher Clarke Schmidt is working his way back from a flexor strain that has delayed the start of his season, though Yankees senior director of player development Kevin Reese recently said Schmidt is doing “fantastic” in his rehab.

At some point this year, Schmidt is expected to join the Yankees’ staff. The 25-year-old had a 7.11 ERA in 6.1 innings during the 2020 season.

The Yankees’ pitching staff has exceeded expectations with baseball’s fifth-best ERA after 34 games. Gerrit Cole remains the only “sure thing” in the rotation. Three of the team’s starters have an ERA north of 4.00.

Deivi Garcia made one start for the Yankees this season. The team’s No. 3 prospect was decent in four innings, allowing two runs while striking out four batters. Back in the minors, Garcia has not made a strong case to rejoin the Yankees just yet.

Garcia didn’t make it through the fourth inning of his first Double-A start, allowing five earned runs with seven walks. 

“He struggled with his command,’’ Boone said of Garcia, who issued eight walks in 14 spring-training innings. “He struggled with first-pitch strikes. He was probably rushing.”

Garcia had a 4.98 ERA in six starts for the Yankees last season. The right-hander threw an inning in the playoffs, as well.

The Yankees will likely be on the lookout for pitching help this summer. Garcia and Schmidt can make things easier for New York if they can perform at a high level over the next few months.

New York Yankees Clint Frazier #77, DJ LeMahieu #26 and Kyle Higashioka #66 of the New York Yankees and teammates Brett Gardner (2nd R) #11 and Aaron Judge (R) #99 look on from the bench during Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays at PETCO Park on October 06, 2020 in San Diego, California. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images