Yankees’ newly promoted catcher making an early impact

Ben Rortvedt, yankees
May 20, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; New York Yankees catcher Ben Rortvedt (38) reacts in the dugout after scoring against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the 2022 season, the New York Yankees initiated a notable trade that saw Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez moving to the Minnesota Twins in the renowned ‘Josh Donaldson deal.’

This trade not only brought Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the Yankees but also secured them an underestimated asset: Ben Rortvedt.

Due to injuries and his own difficulties offensively, the Yankees were unable to fully exploit Rortvedt’s potential at the MLB level last year. Nevertheless, he was a subtly valuable acquisition for the Yankees, given his proficiency in framing and latent offensive capability.

Following the recent injury to Jose Trevino, the Bombers were compelled to promote a catcher from the minors, and Rortvedt was the obvious choice. His promotion to the majors was indeed well-deserved.

After starting the year on the injured list due to surgery on a left shoulder aneurysm in February, he regained his health and invested considerable effort in his conditioning and offensive skills. His hard work has yielded substantial dividends.

Now healthy, Rortvedt adds depth to the Yankees’ catcher position:

The 25-year-old catcher had an impressive .324/.405/.622 batting line, with three home runs over ten games with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, which bodes well for the Yankees. His wRC+ in Triple-A was a commendable 156 in 42 plate appearances.

In his debut over the weekend, Rortvedt went 2-for-4 with a double and scored two runs. Manager Aaron Boone was evidently impressed. If Rortvedt can maintain at least a league-average hitting rate (100 wRC+), the impact of Trevino’s absence will be significantly mitigated.

It’s rewarding to see one of the players acquired in that trade making it to the majors and delivering performance. If all the Yankees’ catchers remain fit, an intriguing three-way competition for playtime may ensue, as both Trevino and Kyle Higashioka possess qualities that merit consideration from the manager, especially the former.

However, Rortvedt may be the one boasting the highest offensive potential.

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