This’ll be the first year in the Yankees organization for Beltre, who spent the previous seven seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, for whom he topped out at Double-A Chattanooga in 2019.
Beltre was used exclusively as a right fielder by the Reds in 2019, but has played all three outfield spots in the past. He’s a career .258 hitter with career highs of five home runs and 37 RBI in a single season. He recorded 22 stolen bases in 2018, but just four in 2019.
He profiles as a fourth outfielder-type, although the Yankees did invite him to big league camp this season, where he got into eight games.
From a prospect perspective, Florial is the best Patriots position player by far, and only one ranked in either Baseball America’s Top 40 or MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 that’ll be in Somerset this season.
It’s also a huge year for the 23-year-old, who briefly made his big league debut last season — he’s currently the only Patriot with Major League experience — who has seen some of his development time taken away due to injury as well as the pandemic; he was limited to just that one game with the Yankees last year outside of the significant work he got in at the alternate site.
Barring a bizarre change in plans, Florial will be Somerset’s everyday center fielder as he makes his regular season debut at the Double-A level, but could move quickly if needed.
Gilliam was the Yankees 20th round pick back in 2015, and the corner outfielder has moved up steadily ever since.
The 24-year-old split the 2019 season between Tampa and Trenton, and while he struggled from a batting average (.180) standpoint over a 47-game sample size at the Double-A level, he maintained his power stroke, hitting nine out of his career-high 17 home runs with the Thunder.
Gilliam is a corner outfielder who has split between left and right field fairly evenly as of late, and gives manager Julio Mosquera some options as he sorts out who will be playing where.
Milone is another minor league free agent signing by the Yankees, one who comes to their organization after seven years with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Milone was a third-round pick of the Rays back in 2013, and topped out with a season and a half at the Double-A Level in 2018 and 2019. He’s played the vast majority of his games in center field, but will likely either need to be used to spell Florial or move to a corner to find consistent playing time here this season.
He’s a career .245 hitter who set new career highs with four homers and 35 RBI in 2019 between High-A and Double-A.
Zehner was a somewhat surprising name on the Somerset roster, as this will mark the fourth season at the Double-A level for the 28-year-old, who has spent the majority of the last two years as a very productive player at Triple-A Scranton.
Zehner, the 2017 Eastern League All-Star Game MVP as a member of the Thunder, has been a corner outfielder, and it’ll be very interesting to see how he’s deployed here this year with younger players behind him.
While he’s here, however, Zehner should provide a solid veteran presence in the clubhouse as well as a middle of the order-type power bat. He’s hit double-digit homers in each of the last three seasons, and is a career .256 hitter.