The Yankees recently drafted Austin Wells in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, but what exactly made the Yankees so high on him?
With the 28th pick of the 2020 MLB draft, the New York Yankees selected catcher Austin Wells. Wells is coming out of the University of Arizona and is a highly considered prospect. Although he is coming out of the draft positioned as a catcher, he projects potential as a first baseman and outfielder. Wells was the Yankees sole draft pick before they were once again on the board at pick No. 99. Baseball America has him ranked at No. 21.
Wells is known for his incredible lefty bat. He has the ability to become one of the games best sluggers in the near future. Wells has been drawing comparisons to Philadelphia Phillies’ superstar Bryce Harper and more notably Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber because of their similar body types. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, both Schwarber and Wells came out of college as catchers. The Yankees have been interested in the services of Schwarber for a few years now, but now after drafting Wells they feel as if they got someone even better.
Wells was on a role before coronavirus expelled the season. He was hitting .375 with two home runs and 14 RBI. He slugged for .589 and had an OBP of .527 in only 15 games. In 2019 he hit .353 with five home runs and 60 RBI. His slugging percentage was .552 and OBP was .462, while also recording 7 triples.
Another aspect to Wells’ game that struck the Yankees was his versatility. He is capable of playing multiple positions. Despite being selected as a catcher, the Yankees see him playing in the outfield and at first base, too. The Yankees are going to work with Wells at the minor league level to develop his catching skills. He is known for having an “okay” arm and skillset. Wells will also be working on his throws from the catching position as that is something that he struggles with. There is a lot of time to work with Wells and if he ends up thriving as a catcher, then the Yankees will be in a good spot to move Gary Sanchez around.
Sanchez has been enduring lower back issues and has been plagued with other injuries throughout recent years. Although he is still young (27), if he continues to rack up the injuries then he could diminish quickly. While the Yankees want to take their time with their new prized catcher, he also has the capacity to rise through the ranks in a precipitated fashion.
It is almost peculiar to see the Yankees have such a right hand dominated lineup because of the short porch in right field. Drafting Wells proves that they are in need of a lefty to help balance the lineup in the near future. When he eventually makes it to the MLB, Gardner (one of the only lefties in the batting order) will be retired. Wells still has a lot to prove as his new fanbase comes with high expectations for all it’s players.