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New York Yankees call up top prospect Ben Rice for MLB debut, key role

Credit: Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Yankees lineup will be without first baseman Anthony Rizzo for at least a month. While there will be options available at the MLB trade deadline, one of the Yankees top prospects will first get a chance to prove himself.

As first reported by Joel Sherman, the Yankees are calling up Ben Rice from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with Anthony Rizzo landing on the injured list. Rice is expected to be officially added to the Yankees roster on Tuesday.

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  • Ben Rice stats (MiLB): .275/.393/.532, .925 OPS, 15 home runs, 36 RBI, 56/40 K/BB, 9 stolen bases, 12 doubles in 222 at-bats

Rice, age 25, opened the season at the Double-A level with the Somerset Patriots. The left-handed hitter tore up the level, posting a .261/.383/.511 slash line with a .894 OPS, 12 home runs, 26 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 180 at-bats. New York promoted him to its Triple-A affiliate in June.

Related: One of New York Yankees top trade targets reportedly not available this summer

Since making his Triple-A debut on June 5, Rice hit 3 home runs with 10 RBI in 11 games. He posted a 10/8 K/BB ratio, recording a 1.059 OPS in his first 42 at-bats.

Who is Ben Rice?

New York Yankees prospect Ben Rice
Credit: Sal DiMaggio / USA TODAY NETWORK

A 12th-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, Rice is rated as one of the Yankees top prospects in 2024. Entering the season, MLB.com rated him as the 12th-best player in New York’s farm system. He also will likely rise in the mid-season update released this summer thanks to an outstanding 2024 season.

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  • Ben Rice FanGraphs: 172 wRC+, .458 wOBA, 16% walk rate, 20% K-rate, .286 isolated power, 31.3% fly ball rate in 50 plate appearances at Triple-A level

FanGraphs isn’t quite as high on the young hitter. In December, he was rated 29th among the Yankees top prospects, receiving a 40 grade for his hit tool and game power. While he was praised for his surface-level stats in the 2023 campaign, there are concerns defensively. However, Eric Longenhagen wrote that Rice could have a peak like Jared Walsh or Justin Bour.

Related: New York Yankees ‘generational’ prospect off to hot start in 2024

The Dartmouth alum will make his MLB debut this week in the Yankees lineup, receiving an opportunity to prove he can fill the void at first base with Rizzo sidelined. If he struggles, then New York will likely pursue trade options more aggressively in July.

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