Yankees add two prospects to 40-Man roster, protecting them from Rule-5 Draft

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One of the deadlines for today came with the 40-Man rosters, as the Yankees would have to select which players they’d leave exposed to the Rule-5 Draft. The Yankees, who didn’t have many difficult decisions this time around since a lot of their Rule-5 eligible talent was in the lower levels of the Minors, selected RHP Clayton Beeter and C Agustin Ramirez for the roster.

Both players had strong seasons for the Yankees and could play a role on the Major League Roster in the next year or two as the team aims to get younger.

Yankees Protect Two Prospects Who Flashed Brilliance in 2023

The Yankees were more than impressed with the season that 22-year-old catcher Agustin Ramirez had in 2023, who put up a 123 wRC+ and struck out just 17.3% of the time in 114 games. With 18 HRs and strong reports about his glove, his bat has truly taken off, as in Single-A he hit a ball at 113.9 MPH, and in Double-A recorded a single over 114 MPH. His incredible raw power coupled with strong contact rates and good swing decisions are impressive, and he spent most of the season at the age of 21.

His rise from Single-A to Double-A was impressive, totaling three different levels with the organization, although he did run into struggles upon his promotion to Somerset. His swings-and-misses went up, but making a jump from High-A to Double-A is difficult, and it was the first time he had ever played that many games in a professional season, and as a catcher it’s possible he wore down as the season went on. Ramirez played some games at first base as well to open up reps for left-handed slugger Ben Rice as they had a logjam in Somerset at the position.

With +4.7 Defensive Runs Prevented as a catcher according to Baseball Prospectus, the bat and glove were both excellent, and the Yankees could get some serious production from him in 2025, assuming he spends 2024 in Double-A and Triple-A. He likely needs at least another year of development, and the emergence of Austin Wells doesn’t create a pressing need for the Yankees at the position, but when he’s ready he should be plenty of fun. A hard-hitting catcher with plus contact skills and defense is certainly going to project well, and he could catapult into a top-100 list next year.

Ramirez will headline what should remain a stacked Double-A team, and as it currently stands they’ll have the two-headed monster of Drew Thorpe and Chase Hampton at the top of their rotation and Spencer Jones and Agustin Ramirez to anchor their lineup. A pitcher who dominated for the Patriots this past season and won a title with them in 2022 is right-hander Clayton Beeter, who came over in the Joey Gallo trade.

Clayton Beeter

Beeter showed off a four-seam fastball that he throws from an over-the-top slot, sitting at 93.4 MPH with 16.6″ of IVB at Triple-A. He was okay in Scranton, putting up a 4.94 ERA and coughing up 15 HRs in just 71 innings, but the run environment in the International League was bonkers. The average ERA in the International League was 5.18, so his ERA was still better than average, but contact suppression and predictability became issues.

He was dominant in Somerset and finished the season between both levels with a 3.62 ERA in 131.2 innings, striking out 162 batters in the process. It’s hard to argue that it wasn’t a successful year for an arm who is in just his first season of starting, as he had never eclipsed even 80 innings in a season as a professional. His slider is his best offering, coming in at 83.5 MPH with heavy dropping action as a true bullet-spinning slider. Batters had a 36% Whiff% against, and it plays really well off of the fastball.

Sam Briend mentioned that the Yankees would like him to develop a third pitch, and he does have a curveball and changeup but neither pitch was relied upon heavily. If he can develop one of those two pitches, he’ll look really good in the show, as his splits against righties and lefties are pretty stark:

  • vs RHH
    • .693 OPS
    • 30.4% K%
    • 11.9% BB%
  • vs LHH
    • .729 OPS
    • 27.1% K%
    • 14.2% BB%

His curveball could be a natural offering since he has a bit of a “death ball” look to it, similar to the one thrown by Jordan Montgomery as it generates just 1.3″ of horizontal break and -4.9″ of IVB at 80.2 MPH. For context, Montgomery’s curveball gets 1.2″ of horizontal break with -6.6″ of IVB at 80.5 MPH, so if the Yankees can hone that pitch in for him, he could finally have an out pitch against left-handed hitters and rely on his fastball a bit less.

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery
Jul 9, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

With that being said, he profiles excellently for a bullpen role if he can’t find it as a starter, and has the stuff and upside to be one of the Yankees’ better relievers. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him make appearances similarly to how Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez did this past season, as he’s already spent a decent amount of time in Triple-A and turned 25 this past October.

The Yankees will now have to make decisions on who they tender or non-tender, and they could be active on the trade front to continue to clear out salary.

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