Quick Hit: A Window Of Opportunity For 2 Outfield Prospects

The Yankee outfield is pretty well set for the 2015 season.  Well, to be more accurate, it's set for the start of the 2015 season.  Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are going to be back doing their thing atop the batting order, Carlos Beltran is going to be back, presumably healthy and hopefully able to rebound from 2014's horrific numbers, and Chris Young is going to be his caddy on the bench as the 4th outfielder. To a certain degree, the outfield is pretty well set for the foreseeable future as well.  Gardner and Ellsbury are under contract for years to come, Aaron Judge is the new "next big thing" prospect who can take over right field long-term after Beltran's contract is up, and there are another few years of hot stove seasons and trade deadlines before then to plug holes as needed.

In a perfect world, the 4 guys already on the projected Opening Day roster would handle all or close to all of the outfield at-bats this season.  It's been far from a perfect world with respect to the Yankees and injuries over the past 2 seasons, however, and the team needs to have a Plan B in the event that any of the regular 4 get dinged up or hurt seriously enough to miss a big chunk of time.

Enter Ramon Flores and Tyler Austin, 2 somewhat overlooked outfield prospects slated to start the season in right and left field for the SWB RailRiders.  They're both relatively young, Flores a few months shy of 23 and Austin a few months over it, and both coming off pretty good seasons that were impacted by injuries.  Flores hit .247/.339/.443 for SWB despite losing a few months to an ankle injury, while Austin finished the year with a .275/.336/.419 slash line and increasing OPS numbers every month as he got further away from his wrist troubles.

They may not contribute much if they do get called up, and neither may factor into the long-term outfield plans, but Flores and Austin have risen to the top of that 5th/6th outfielder depth chart and both have shown the ability to hit for average, power, and take walks at various points of their MiL careers.  As it was for guys like Zoilo before them, the opportunity is there for one or both of these players to wedge themselves into the discussion for future spots on the Major League roster.