New York Yankees draft pick Austin Wells is a catcher, for now, but he’d do anything to mash at Yankee Stadium.
Austin Wells’ selection at 28th overall has given Yankee fans a bit of unearned whiplash — with most expecting a collegiate pitcher, a bat-first catcher seemed like an interesting call, with so many catching prospects in New York’s pipeline.
But, now that the initial shock of the pick is gone…can we all acknowledge that Wells seems like he can absolutely rake?
There’s always room in the Bronx for a lefty power bat, a specific strength of most great Yankee teams that has been sorely lacking in recent years. And Wells understands his role, based on his recent comments.
Sure, he’d love to be a catcher, improving on defense year by year and eventually competing with Gary Sanchez for reps. But, on the flip side, he’d do anything to hit dingers on the big stage.
“I’m a catcher,” Wells told the gathered Yankees media members on a conference call Thursday. “I want to be a catcher. And I know I’m definitely willing to do whatever it takes to get to the big leagues. So it’s at another position, then I’ll just hit home runs at Yankee Stadium and play wherever they need me to!”
The kid gets it.
Whether Wells’ framing and blocking ability improve enough for him to stick behind the plate rather than grow out of the position is tomorrow’s problem — and, for all intents and purposes, his sophomore year represented a framing leap forward. The Yankees now have a bat they covet, and one they compare to Kyle Schwarber coming out of college.
Cultivating the slugging ability is the most important thing moving forward. Once that’s established, the rest will work itself out.
Here’s hoping Wells gets his wish and sticks at catcher long-term too, though. We’d like to see his best-case scenario occur.