Yankees prospects enjoy homer-happy night across farm system

Ramirez (3-HR game), Rice (homer in 3rd straight) headline power deluge

June 8th, 2024

These Yankees prospects are aiming to become Bronx Bombers.

That much was plain to see Friday, as prospects up and down the Yankees' system put their power on display on a homer-happy night down on New York’s farm. The most striking example came from , who launched three homers to power Double-A Somerset’s 12-4 win over Hartford at TD Bank Ballpark.

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Club No. 2 prospect Spencer Jones also went deep for the Patriots on a night that No. 4 prospect Roderick Arias (Single-A Tampa) and No. 12 prospect Ben Rice (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) left the yard as well elsewhere in the system. Arias, MLB's No. 86 overall prospect, also had a three-run triple and finished with a career-high 6 RBIs.

The headliner, though, was Ramirez, who jumped back into the Eastern League lead in homers with the first three-homer game of his career. The Yankees’ No. 20 prospect, Ramirez clubbed a two-run homer off Rockies No. 14 prospect Carson Palmquist in the first, tagged Palmquist again for a three-run shot in the second and added a solo homer off righty Bryce McGowan in the eighth.

His three-homer game marks the 14th in the Minor Leagues this season.

“I can’t believe it,” Ramirez said through team interpreter Carlos Céspedes. “It’s something we have been working on and the results are paying off.”

Power has always been Ramirez’s calling card. He received the biggest bonus for a Dominican catcher in the 2018-19 international signing class but didn’t reach full-season ball until 2023, when he mashed 18 homers across three levels and reached Double-A. Back at Somerset this season, he’s now cranked nearly as many homers (15) in more than half the games (49), emerging as one of the Eastern League’s premier power threats.

It’s been a good week for power-hitting Yankees catching prospects. Until a few days ago, Ramirez had been sharing catching duties with Rice, who hit 12 homers before his promotion to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. Rice’s homer on Friday gave him three in his first three games at Triple-A.

“We have been working really hard, always giving it 100 percent,” Ramirez said. “Now the work is paying off.”

Ramirez and Rice are both bat-first catching prospects. When they were both in Somerset, they formed a rotation between catching, first base and designated hitter duties, and there is speculation about whether either or both of their long-term defensive futures might be at first.

But at this point, their bats are what is going to drive them closer to New York, the direction Rice is already heading. Through 52 total games this season, Rice is hitting a robust .283/.400/.576 with 15 homers and 33 RBIs. Ramirez is hitting .282/.377/.585 with 15 homers and 41 RBIs.

That’s a lot of potential pop in one backstop tandem.