The New York Yankees dropped their long-awaited list of spring training non-roster invitees on Tuesday afternoon, and while it didn't have as many dramatic reveals as previous seasons ("How'd JAY BRUCE get here?!"), there were still a number of eye-catching names.
Jasson Dominguez? Check. Top prospect pedigree, 20 years old, getting a big chance to compete with the other maxed-out wild men on the Yankees' roster. Anthony Volpe? Of course; this spring could carry him to the big-league roster in the not-so-distant future. Carlos Narvaéz? He's...well, Narvaéz is...ok, we give up. We don't know him. But perhaps we should.
Not to be confused with former Brewers backstop Omar Narvaéz, Carlos has been logging professional at-bats with the Yankees since a 2016 stint in the Dominican Summer League. He made his stateside Bombers debut in the Gulf Coast League the next year, but didn't leap to full-season ball until all the way in 2021, following the cancellation of the pandemic season and a repeat stop at short-season Staten Island (RIPizza Rat).
Narvaéz dominated in a 16-game Sally League stint with Hudson Valley in '21 (.304, .798 OPS), but had a deeply odd offensive season in 2022 at the same level (.194 average, .327 OBP, still slugged 11 bombs).
Of course, it's the defense that really shines for the 24-year-old Narvaez, who should get a crack at Double-A Somerset this summer. And we're not just talking about framing and the eccentricities of the modern game, advantages that may someday be erased (or neutered) by robot umpires. No, we're talking good, old fashioned gunning down base stealers, as prospect expert John Brophy pointed out on Wednesday.
Yankees Spring Training Roster 2023: Can Carlos Narváez make an impact?
In terms of halting the running game, Narvaéz is the best in the Yankees' system below the surface.
Second place throughout the system goes to Antonio Gomez, the 21-year-old who ranks No. 5 on Keith Law's latest surprising list of top prospects, and who got his season back on track midway through en route to looking like a 2023 breakout candidate. He caught a nothing-to-sneeze-at 30.6% of runners last season, but Narvaéz, a surprise name on very few radars, cleared him by a nice margin.
Hopefully, subbing in Narvaéz in the late innings of the Yankees' spring training showdowns becomes standard practice -- you know, baking in the now-guaranteed Ben Rortvedt injury.