The Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer has an encouraging comparison for Austin Wells.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the New York Yankees just got their hands on a future AL MVP? 2020 first-round pick Austin Wells’ sweet-swinging lefty bat has helped him excel in his collegiate career, so when looking at the numbers and aesthetics, it’s not crazy to imagine.
For NYY scouting director Damon Oppenheimer, him and his colleagues see a little bit of Joe Mauer in Wells. That’s gotta be good, right? The former Minnesota Twins star won an AL MVP back in 2009, captured three batting titles, led the league in on-base percentage twice, and finished his career with a .306/.388/.439 slash line.
He was one of the greatest hitting catchers the game’s ever seen.
“I wish I could say yes, that there’s an exact player that he reminds me of,” Oppenheimer said. “But it’s a little difficult because I’ve seen some Joe Mauer in this guy’s swing. I’ve seen some of that kind of pop at times. Just to say, ‘Yeah, he totally reminds me of somebody.’ I can’t really say that. That’s the swing he reminds me of a little bit sometimes of Joe.”
Remember Yankee fans questioning the organization selecting its second catcher in the first round in the last three years? At first, yes, that was a reasonable complaint especially considering the presence of Gary Sanchez, but there’s at least some clarity surrounding Wells.
And you heard Oppenheimer — even if Wells doesn’t work out behind the plate, he’s versatile on the defensive side of the ball, having played first base and the corner outfield spots. And if that doesn’t work out? There’s always the DH spot if his bat is that good.
Let’s not jump the gun and put too much pressure on this kid, but it’s certainly promising to hear these rave reviews and his passion for the game. That’ll at least play in pinstripes.