Yankees need to promote red-hot lefty hitter to Triple-A now

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Sal DiMaggio / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Yankees have recently freed up multiple slots in their Triple-A roster. This comes on the heels of promoting top prospects Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells to play in Friday’s series against the Houston Astros. One player, in particular, has grabbed attention in Double-A and appears ripe for a Triple-A promotion: 24-year-old Ben Rice.

Ben Rice: A Statistical Powerhouse in Double-A

This lefty slugger has been on a tear over the past few months, boasting impressive statistics. He’s flaunting a batting average of .328, an OBP of .389, and a slugging rate of .664. Add to that 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in just 33 games. Rice’s metrics further impress with a 17.4% strikeout rate, an 8.1% walk rate, and a wRC+ of 180.

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Consistency: Rice’s Strong Suit

What sets Ben Rice apart isn’t merely his compelling stats; it’s his ability to maintain those numbers consistently. He’s not just excelling in Double-A games; he’s putting up big numbers day in and day out. This trend strengthens his case for an imminent promotion.

Elite Second-Half Performance

Rice’s performance in the second half of the season has been nothing short of spectacular. Since June 26, he has led the Eastern League in multiple categories: 14 home runs, 41 RBIs, 23 extra-base hits, 100 total bases, a .714 slugging rate, and a staggering 1.116 OPS. What adds an extra layer of promise is that Double-A is known as the most challenging of the Minor League levels, hinting at a smooth transition for Rice to the next tier.

Versatility and Future Prospects in MLB

While questions hover around Rice’s defensive abilities as a catcher, his experience at first base offers an intriguing option. With Anthony Rizzo’s contract set to expire after the 2024 season, Rice’s left-handed batting and powerful hitting align well for a potential successor role, provided he maintains his current developmental trajectory.

Triple-A Transition and Defensive Development

Upon Rice’s anticipated move to Triple-A, it will be fascinating to see how the Yankees manage his defensive growth. Austin Wells’ promotion to MLB has left an opening for a catcher’s position in Triple-A, where Rice could fit alongside Carlos Narvaez.

The Fast-Track to Triple-A and Then the Yankees

Given the Yankees’ recent promotion of 20-year-old Jasson Dominguez, Rice, who is 24, should logically be next in line. The Yankees are aggressively pushing their prospects, and holding Rice back could impede his growth. Fast-tracking him to Triple-A and potentially giving him a chance to vie for a 40-man roster spot in the 2024 Spring Training seems like an optimal path.

The New York Yankees’ Triple-A roster is in an exciting transition phase, and Ben Rice appears primed to be a key part of this change. With Rice’s stellar statistics and the Yankees’ forward-thinking approach to talent development, fans have every reason to keep their eyes peeled for his next moves.