Yankees’ catching prospect is bidding for top-100 prospect status

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a strong farm system, and their ability to maximize prospect value has improved dramatically over the years. Back in 2019, they had a barren prospect pool that hurt their ability to make much-needed improvements at the deadline, resulting in the Houston Astros taking them down in six games that year. If the Yankees want to build a sustainable winner, having cost-controlled talent that you find internally is important, and they might have found another impact player in the form of Agustin Ramirez.

With eight home runs in his first 17 games, we’re seeing some serious skill progressions from the power-hitting catcher, as Ramirez might be on his way to becoming a universal top-100 prospect in baseball.

Agustin Ramirez is Rocketing Up the Yankees’ Organization

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Feb 17, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Agustin Ramirez (96) prepares to take batting practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to come by a hitter who can combine a strong feel for contact with excellent raw power, but Agustin Ramirez has done exactly that. Last season we saw him reach exit velocities north of 113 MPH, and right now he’s on an absolute tear in the power department. Something that’s improved from last year is the ability to get the baseball in the air, and it’s resulted in his home run production skyrocketing with eight blasts in just 17 games. For context, last year he hit 18 home runs in 114 games, a year in which we saw him go from Single-A to Double-A.

He struggled with the Somerset Patriots in his first stint with them as across 31 games he slashed .211/.273/.313 with a 45.4% groundball rate. Over the offseason, getting the ball in the air would be a big priority for Agustin Ramirez, who has the raw power to be an elite power hitter but struggled to get the elevation needed to drive the ball out of the park. It’s hard to lift the ball more without opening yourself up to more strikeouts, and yet Ramirez’s strikeout rate in 2024 (17.7%) is just marginally worse than what it was in 2023 (17.3%).

At the plate, you’re getting a smart hitter with strong pitch recognition skills that can do damage to opposing pitchers, and the Yankees already have him on their 40-man roster.

Syndication: Wilmington News Journal
Hudson Valley’s Agustin Ramirez gestures as he heads for third on his way home after a two-run homer in the eighth inning of the Blue Rocks’ 6-3 loss at Frawley Stadium, Friday, August 4, 2023.

What makes his 178 wRC+ impressive is that he’s doing it with a .186 BABIP, a number that’s bound to improve as the season goes on. Agustin Ramirez is not running into insane luck, instead utilizing his excellent skills to consistently barrel up the ball and walk away with good at-bats even when the results aren’t there. With how well the underlying metrics are, he might not need much more time in Somerset before the Yankees decide to send him to Scranton.

Despite public perception, the Yankees have become much better at promoting prospects aggressively and giving them a chance to win jobs on their 26-man roster. Austin Wells, Everson Pereira, Jasson Dominguez, Oswald Peraza, and Anthony Volpe all got shots at holding down spots on the roster last year, and Luis Gil battled with Will Warren for a spot in their rotation. If Agustin Ramirez keeps mashing, they’re not going to hesitate to promote him to Triple-A when the opportunity for MLB action arises.

On the defensive side of things, he’s still refining his catching abilities, but there’s reason to believe he can be a strong defender behind the plate. With how the Yankees have transformed Austin Wells’ defensive profile, I have all the faith in the world that they can take a more skilled defender and make him a good backstop. Entering the season, we ranked Ramirez as the ninth-best prospect in the organization, but soon we’ll be talking about him as a top-100 prospect.

This isn’t hyperbole either; there’s an abundance of skills here and there are going to be massive boosts to his game power grades now that he’s lifting the ball more consistently. The feel for contact is great, and the average should climb soon with his BABIP likely to improve due to how often he generates line drives and hard contact. This is an impact Major League bat by the 2025 season, where the Yankees could see him and Austin Wells form a battery that ranks towards the top of the sport.

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