The Yankees might have found something special in rookie infielder

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, ben rice
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees demolished the Boston Red Sox 14–4 on Saturday afternoon, a much-needed win to snap a losing streak. The team collected 14 hits in the process, but they have rookie first baseman Ben Rice to thank for the offensive explosion. Rice hit three home runs with seven RBIs, putting together one of the Yankees’ best performances of the season.

Rice Rises When the Yankees Need Him Most

Rice has been excellent since being called up from Triple-A Scranton, where he hit .333/.440/.611 in 11 games. Anthony Rizzo’s injury and lengthy spell on the IL opened up an opportunity for the 25-year-old. Traditionally a catcher, Rice is making the full-time transition to first base, where he’s impressing the Yankee brass and setting himself up to be the long-term solution beyond the 2024 season.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Statistical Breakthrough for Rice

Over just 60 plate appearances, Rice has 15 hits, including four homers, a .294 batting average, a .383 on-base percentage, a .588 slugging percentage, and a .971 OPS. He’s finally starting to show off his vintage power, representing one of the few Yankee pieces that have been hot as of late.

In fact, Rice and rookie catcher Austin Wells have been two of the team’s most impressive players during the most recent cold stretch, which is certainly not something the Yankees expected.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Impressive Metrics and Future Prospects

Impressively, Rice ranks among the best in baseball in expected batting average at .306, chase rate, whiff rate, and strike-out percentage. The Bombers couldn’t have asked for anything more than Rice has provided, and even when Rizzo returns from his right arm fracture, it will be difficult for the team to take the youngster out of the equation.

Strategic Batting Order Adjustments

Rice has been so dangerous as the lead-off hitter over the past few days that it seems as though the Yankees may keep him there and permanently move Anthony Volpe down the order, where he’s been a bit more efficient.

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