Fast-rising Yankees catching prospect could make big-league noise after hot start

New York Yankees v Miami Marlins
New York Yankees v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Turns out the Yankees might've known what they were doing after all by adding an additional catcher to the 40-man roster this winter (don't Google Ben Rortvedt's stats).

While there isn't much room in the big-league catcher's room at the moment -- again, that's why Rortvedt was traded -- the leash isn't eternal on 2022 All-Star Jose Trevino. And while the lefty-swinging Austin Wells is a powerful fan favorite, and the Yankees seem to consider him a significant part of their future, they can't hesitate to evaluate the system holistically and objectively, both for 2024 and beyond.

Enter Agustin Ramirez, protected from the Rule 5 Draft this past November alongside Clayton Beeter, despite Trevino, Wells, Rortvedt and Carlos Narvaez already occupying valuable 40-man spots. The Yankees, well aware of the impending logjam, still prioritized the position, knowing that they'd regret exposing Ramirez and his top-tier exit velocity to the free market.

So far, it's looked like a masterstroke. Rortvedt helped them acquire big-league glue guy Jon Berti, and perhaps more importantly, Ramirez became the first Double-A player to drill four home runs this season (in five games) on Thursday night, also adding two caught stealings to his tally on the other side of the ball.

On Friday? He casually slugged another homer. Five'll work.

Yankees catching prospect Agustin Ramirez off to hot start at Double-A

Baseball America, though they didn't bestow Ramirez with Top 100 Prospect status this offseason, did put him on their "All-Not-Top-100 Prospect Team," which is almost a dig, but not quite. In that feature, they claimed Ramirez's exit velocity could be extrapolated to conclude he possessed 65-70 grade raw power on a traditional scouting scale peaking at 80. Not bad. Especially if he can hose dudes, too.

Ramirez's big-league path remains clouded, of course. Even at Triple-A, both Narvaez and Luis Torrens need reps behind the plate (though Torrens floated to first base late in camp); that's another reason why keeping Rortvedt felt so foolhardy.

It remains as difficult to climb the Yankees' MLB ladder as any team's. After all, they don't just give roster spots to young players and let them flounder early on very often (though it happens more than it used to these days). As they say, though, the bat will play, and if Ramirez keeps on outslugging the entire Eastern League, the Yankees will find room for him.

They'll do it twice as quickly if he maintains his cannon, too.